Presidents Letter July 2020

July 2020 President’s Letter


Tennis is in full swing in July!  It is great to report that to my knowledge, virtually all local governments in the state are allowing tennis to be played starting this month.  In addition to recreational and league play, tournament play at the adult and junior level has started back and it is nice to report that there is a pent-up demand to play and compete as evidenced by an increased number of registrations compared to last year for some tournaments.  I had the opportunity to play in the E-town Open, my hometown tennis tournament, on the weekend of July 4.  Kudos to Teri Christensen, Karen Henson, Roger Henson and other members of the Elizabethtown Tennis Commission for doing a great job following the USTA and CDC guidelines! 


Let’s Start Tennis is a new program for beginners started by USTA Kentucky in conjunction with local Parks and Recreation departments and Community Tennis Associations. It is a six-week program with one-hour sessions.  USTA KY is providing coaching training, Net Generation information, customizable promotional flyers and JotForm participant registration if needed.  The cost is $60.  The CTA or Parks department is responsible for date selection, instructors, promotion, collection of payment and assuring coaches are following COVID-19 safe play guidelines.  Any CTA and Park department that start this program will be entered to win a $200 Amazon Gift Card.  Four Gift Cards will be awarded.  Many thanks to Kim Lonnemann, Stacey Croley and Taylor Urquhart for their work on developing this program!  Based on significant increased sales of tennis balls and racquets at Wal-Mart, we know that there are a lot of people trying out tennis.  This is a perfect program to assist those eager to learn about tennis.  If you think your CTA or local Parks Department would be interested in participating, please let me know.


Earlier this year, we learned that the Ashland professional tournament would not be held and this week brought the announcement that the Kentucky Bank tournament at the University of Kentucky was cancelled.  Thus, it appeared the state of Kentucky would not have any professional tennis this summer.  However, Top Seed Tennis Club in Nicholasville was able to host a fundraiser the first weekend of July, the Young Kings Scholarship Tournament, to benefit African American men to assist with scholarships for college, technical schools or to obtain a commercial driver’s license.  It attracted eight top level women: Caty McNally, CiCi Bellis, Shelby Rogers, Jessica Pegula, Jamie Loeb, Marine Partaud, Leylah Fernandez and Genie Bouchard. The tournament was a success, but even greater news came a few days later when the WTA awarded the former Citi Open women’s tournament in Washington, D.C. to Top Seed Tennis Club.  The new tournament will be known as The Top Seed Open and will be played from August 10-16.  Unfortunately, no fans will be allowed to attend, but the eyes of the tennis world will be on Kentucky as the tournament will have at least one top ten player and be televised on The Tennis Channel and perhaps ESPN.  Congrats to Jon Sanders and his staff at Top Seed Tennis Club for their work in securing this tournament!  It is very significant since the last time Kentucky had top ten players competing in a tournament was in the 1970’s at the Louisville International Tennis Classic!


For those of you that missed it, a group of public health experts in Michigan ranked everyday activities and sports for risk of transmitting coronavirus on a scale from 1 to 10.  The only sport receiving the least risky rating of 1 was tennis.  Although we consider tennis the perfect physical distancing sport, please continue to follow USTA guidelines for safe play to reduce your risk even further and enjoy the sport we love!


At your service,


Mike Eden