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President's Letter March 2021

March 2021 President’s Letter

 

It is wonderful to see the arrival of spring along with a reduction in Covid cases and hopefully a return to normalcy soon.  The warmer weather and longer days beacon us to the tennis court.  It is my hope that we can continue the trend established last year and further increase the number of new and returning players especially ones from diverse backgrounds.

 

One of our four areas of emphasis this year for Kentucky tennis is to improve our efforts in regards to diversity and inclusion.  Tennis is the most popular individual sport in the world with approximately 1 billion fans.  We have diverse players from all over the world playing across courts in Kentucky.  Tennis is such a great sport on so many levels and historically has broken down barriers for diverse players compared to other sports thanks to trailblazers such as Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King advocating for fairness and inclusion.  However, there is still much work to be done.  In order for tennis to grow, we must continue efforts to reach out to all areas of society. USTA Kentucky is committed to abide by USTA Bylaw 10 which states, in part, that “membership and all rights of participation in the Corporation, including all tournaments and other events conducted or sanctioned by it, shall be open to athletes, coaches, trainers, administrators, officials, and all other persons without regard to race, age, creed, sexual orientation, color, national origin or sex.”

 

At our recent Community Development Workshop held in conjunction with USTA Alabama and USTA Mississippi, Marisa Grimes, the new USTA National Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer offered an inspiring presentation.  She talked about how tennis can bring people of different backgrounds together and challenged us to envision tennis to look like America.  She made both a moral and business case to support this.  She called for a call to action consisting of three areas.

 

1.  Think of ways you can help create a more inclusive environment for diverse players and families

2.  Expand your personal and professional network to identify new diverse tennis participants.

3.  Become a mentor to someone from a different background than you.

 

Our USTA Kentucky staff met recently with Cee Jai Jones, USTA Southern Director of Diversity, NJTL and Grants, to discuss diversity and inclusion.  She will meet with the USTA KY Board at our next meeting.  It is hoped that through her guidance and recommendations from our Diversity and Inclusion Committee that we will be able to see more diverse tennis participants as part of the group of new and returning players this year.

 

I hope you are able to play tennis more often with the nicer weather and that our great sport will continue to grow with lots of diverse players this year.

 

At Your Service,

Mike Eden

 

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