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Presidents Letter April 2021

April 2021 President’s Letter

 

Last year at this time, the pandemic forced the closure of our tennis clubs and public courts.  Thankfully, the situation is much better this year and tennis is being played at the high school, college, adult league and professional level.  I would like to discuss the USTA National Meeting, express thankfulness for the ability to play and look forward to National Tennis Month next month.

 

The USTA National Annual Meeting was held virtually at the beginning of April.  Our Executive Director Mike Dowse opened the meeting and noted that due to loss of income from the U.S. Open, net operating income was down over 80% from the previous year.  Despite this, the USTA is committed to the mission to grow the game.  The national staff was reduced by 25% and capital expenditures have been reduced as well.  The Tennis Industry United initiative has been successful in opening lines of communication of multiple tennis stakeholders.  We added approximately 4 million new players to tennis in the United States in 2020.  Mike closed with “We must start at the local level and be a salesforce for our sport”.

 

Our new USTA National President, Mike McNulty, discussed the physical, mental and social benefits of tennis.  The most important reason to play tennis is because it is fun!  We need to make tennis more accessible to more people and our greatest opportunity to do so is in public parks where 66% of tennis is played.  He then shared success stories from the USTA Texas Rally to Serve Initiative, the USTA Hawaii Play and Learn Program, the USTA Colorado emphasis of a better service model and the USTA Louisiana success with public private partnerships.  President McNulty closed with “We are all caretakers of a wonderful sport which is a privilege and responsibility”

 

Please be on the lookout next month for an advertising blitz to celebrate and promote May as National Tennis Month.  The weather in May is usually fantastic and I would encourage you to join the staff and volunteers of USTA Kentucky in encouraging your friends and family to get out and play some tennis!

 

On a personal note, I sustained a non-displaced ankle fracture in the first week of January while playing tennis.  It has been a frustrating experience being away from tennis, but it was awesome to start hitting again this week.  It has reminded me of the simple joy of hitting a tennis ball!  I look forward to getting back to play with my friends in seasonal groups and league teams. 

 

I am very sorry to share that our beloved Kentucky and Southern Tennis Hall of Famer Julie Ditty Qualls is in a battle with breast cancer.  Please keep Julie in your thoughts and prayers.

 

At Your Service,

 

Mike Eden

 

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