Presidents Letter August 2020

August 2020 President’s Letter


While the pandemic has been difficult for everyone, Kentucky tennis got a silver lining with the just completed Top Seed Open in Nicholasville.  The tournament was historic as the first WTA tournament in the United States since March and also the highest-level women’s professional tournament ever held in Kentucky.  It attracted a field of players unheard of for a $225,000 WTA International tournament.  Although fans were not allowed to attend, the Tennis Channel provided daily coverage and we saw Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka along with rising American stars CoCo Gauff, Jennifer Brady, and Shelby Rogers play in Nicholasville.  Jennifer Brady played amazing tennis all week and took the championship trophy.  Kudos to Jon Sanders and his staff at Top Seed Tennis Club for conducting a very safe and successful tournament!  On a personal note, I had the privilege of serving as the oldest male ball person in the tournament.  It was a lot of fun, but my low back and hamstrings are sure sore! 


In addition to the Top Seed Open, there has been a lot going on in the past month at the state, sectional and national level. 


  • The USTA Kentucky Board met virtually this month and approved a plan to reach out to all of the major stakeholders of tennis in Kentucky.  The various groups will meet virtually and be surveyed on how we can all work together to grow the game of tennis in Kentucky. The Board also completed gathering data on facilities and key tennis people in every county.  I hope to share some of the results of this information with you next month after it has been analyzed.


  • I am excited to announce fantastic news from Warren County.  The Fiscal Court approved an $8.2 million-dollar tennis facility this month that will feature six indoor and six outdoor tennis courts.  Congrats to Martina Fee, Chris Kummer, Bobby Lindsey and the Southern Kentucky Tennis Association on their efforts! 


  • The USTA Kentucky Awards Committee has reduced the number of awards from 25 to 13 to reflect programming this year and to align with awards given by USTA Southern.  I would encourage you to consider nominating a deserving individual or organization for an award.  CLICK HERE to nominate.   The deadline to submit a nomination is September 15. 


  • With the influx of players new to the game filling our public courts, Kim Lonnemann designed a laminated sign to place on tennis court fences and bulletin boards.  The sign contains contact information for our state office including a QR code (Load the Code). It is hoped that we can provide new players information on programming and play opportunities in their area.    


  • I attended the Southern sectional summer meeting recently via video conference.  Kentucky is in the minority when it comes to hosting state championships for league play this year.  We haven’t been hit as hard by the pandemic as some of the states in the section. 


  • I was pleased to learn that Southern has decided to maintain state funding at the same level in 2021.  We were bracing for a reduction in funding so this was a welcome relief. 


  • The USTA National Semiannual Meeting was held in early August virtually.  Mike Dowse, USTA National Executive Director, discussed the pivot to being a service-based organization in which “all tennis counts”. 


  • A Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer search is underway, and they hope to name someone in the next couple of months. 


  • He then discussed five strategic priorities.  Priority one is to attract, engage and retain new generations of diverse tennis participants.  Priority two is to lead industry wide improvements to the tennis delivery system, provider education and consumer experiences.  Priority three is to build and optimize best in class digital infrastructure and platforms.  Priority four is to drive further U.S. Open net revenue growth.  The fifth priority is to collaborate within the USTA family and the tennis ecosystem for the common good of American tennis.


We are fortunate to have a very active and engaged Board of Directors and a myriad of volunteers throughout the state working with our awesome staff in the state office to grow tennis in Kentucky.  However, there is always room for more volunteers.  If you would like to give back to the game we love so much, please don’t hesitate to contact me, or someone in our state office, or submit the Volunteer Interest Form and we will find a place for you!

At your service,

Mike Eden

USTA Kentucky Board President