President's Letter July

Dear Kentucky Tennis Family,


For a tennis player, this time of year is tennis heaven.  Wimbledon has wrapped and the US Open is around the corner.  Hundreds, if not thousands of Kentuckians have been or will be taking the court around the state the Adult & Junior Team Tennis District tournaments. In fact, the Junior Team Tennis District Tournament in Owensboro this coming weekend has a record 47 teams participating!


Districts are an exciting time of year.  The excitement of being with your teammates & friends for 3 days.  Who are we playing?  What’s our strategy? Who’s got the extra water, bananas and oranges?  Or, if you played in the 40 and up tournament in Louisville June 29-July 1, where’s the shade???  I was able to make the trip to Louisville to volunteer at the USTA tent at Tom Sawyer Park on Saturday of the tournament and I’m pretty sure it was 100 in the shade, I can’t even imagine how hot it was on the court! Rick Shafferman, my tent co-volunteer that afternoon, and I marveled at the will of the players taking the court to withstand the sweltering heat to play the game they love and to represent their teams and communities.


As I watched I was reminded of how the game of tennis requires us to overcome so many challenges.  Some are external, like the heat, humidity, sun, wind and noise (especially if you play at Shillito Park in Lexington – hello trains??).  But as difficult as these challenges are, I think we all know that more often than not, the real challenge isn’t external – it’s internal. My high school softball coach would often joke, saying, “It’s not hot, you just think it’s hot!”  The point being, if you focus on the physical conditions, you’re already beaten mentally.  This is just one of the many reasons I love tennis! How often are we beaten not by our opponents, but by ourselves?  And how does this carry over to real life?  How often do we take the approach in our day to day lives to focus on our mental game?  Controlling our emotions, taking a deep breath, and not letting our external circumstances determine our reactions and our mindset. How would your life be different if you approached it with the mental toughness you do your tennis game?  Just some things I’ve been thinking about and thought I’d share them with you!


But I digress, back to the original point! This time of year is rich with opportunities to enjoy tennis. In addition to Wimbledon, the US Open and Kentucky Adult & JTT Districts, we also have TWO professional events going on in Kentucky in the coming weeks!


The Braidy Industries $60,000  Women’s Tennis Classic, will be held in Ashland, July 22-29.  AT the time of this writing, 12 players in the top 200 worldwide are slated to play this event, including Sachia Vickery (ranked 83) and Caroline Dolehide (ranked 109).  Seven nationalities in all are represented in the 32-player qualifying field, which will be played Sunday and Monday at the Ashland Tennis Center (July 22-23, 2018).You’re sure to see some great tennis, so I hope you’ll take a day or two to visit Ashland and show your support for this event!


The Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships, to be played in Lexington July 30-Aug 5, highlights some of the best young talent around! Francis Tiafoe, John Isner, Jesse Witten, Melanie Oudin and Shelby Rogers are just a few players that have played in the event. I encourage you to come out and watch some great tennis- who knows, the next young star may be playing right in front of you!  Friday, August 3 is USTA Kentucky Member Appreciation Day! Come out from 5-7 PM that night and you’ll receive free admission, free food, drinks and prizes!  If you plan to attend please RSVP so we’ll know how many to plan for!


Both events are still needing volunteers!  Whether it’s Ball Persons, housing for players and officials, transportation, ushers and more, these events need your help.  If you want to see great tennis, rub shoulders with the players and give back to the community, please visit the websites linked above and click on the “Volunteers” links to find out how you can help.


So, take it in Kentucky! Breath in the tennis fun and enjoy it while it lasts, because this season will be gone all too soon!


Have a great day!


Rainey Johns
“Find Your Serve”