Officials Spotlight: Bob Hyatt
Officials are a key part of every tennis tournament. While the players on the court may keep your eyes engaged, tennis officials and chair umpires are there to ensure the match runs smooth and fair. They are the gatekeeper to a successful match.
In honor of Officials Appreciation Week, we caught up with Bob Hyatt, a tennis official for more than 16 years, on what being an official means to him.
Bob Hyatt is a do-it-all tennis official. “I am currently certified as a USTA Chair Umpire, Line Umpire, and Referee. I referee USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior tournaments as well as adult league championships. I referee Virginia High School League (VHSL) state championships. I am also Certified by the ITA as a referee for college division I matches around several conferences throughout the country, such as CAA, ACC, MEDAC, A-10, Big East, and ODAC, to name a few. And last, I work the professional tour as lines judge and the Master's tour as the chair umpire,” said Hyatt.
With the many different hats and roles he plays in the officiating world, he finds the job just as gratifying today as he did when he was first certified. “This is a very rewarding profession,” Hyatt says. “The key is to get into it [officiating] at a young age in order to work through the experience.”
Tennis has been a staple in Bob Hyatt’s life since he was 12 years old. He grew through the junior ranks, played in high school, the Air Force interservice team, and currently plays in adult leagues in the Mid-Atlantic. You can also find him on the courts coaching a high school tennis team.
In his officiating tenure, Bob has identified four main reasons for his love of the game, and why everyone in the Mid-Atlantic should pick up a tennis racquet. “The challenge of the game is exciting, the good friendships you gain, [it’s] a great way to stay healthy, and above all, as I tell my junior tennis students [tennis is] a sport that you can play your entire life,” Hyatt said.
Bob’s commitment to tennis in the Mid-Atlantic impacts not only the players on the court but those who work with him as well.
"Bob is often a Referee for the USTA Mid-Atlantic Virginia Regional Championships. He is well known, respected, and extremely knowledgeable on the sport. I am always pleased to work with Bob. His friendly and educational demeanor really helps when working with our USTA League players,” said Eva Webster, Virginia leagues manager for USTA Mid-Atlantic.
It is important as a tennis official to build relationships on and off court to have a successful career. Not only are they calling the shots, but they are the keepers of “Friend at Court.”
When asked to describe tennis in the Mid-Atlantic, Bob said, “By the looks of things the Mid-Atlantic Section has one of the largest tennis playing communities in the country. The leagues are large, and very competitive. Year after year, I see many of the same players. This is a good sign that tennis is very active in the Mid-Atlantic.”
Mid-Atlantic tennis officials, like Bob Hyatt, are integral contributors to a vibrant, thriving tennis community in the Section. They are key to ensuring a tennis event runs smooth and fair and that helps make the competition that much more enjoyable. Thank you to all the tennis officials that make an impact every day and support tennis.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a USTA-certified tennis official, click here. USTA Mid-Atlantic is always looking for more officials to attend tournaments and other tennis events, so start your training today. Give back and help grow the game of tennis through officiating.
League Tennis in 2021January 19, 2021USTA Mid-Atlantic Leagues are opening up and starting to get a little closer to normal. With the league calendar starting to fill out, we’ve compiled a few updates for 2021 to help you prepare for the tennis season ahead! Read More
Indoor Tennis PerspectiveJanuary 05, 2021Deirdre Hughes, an avid tennis player, and USTA Mid-Atlantic employee talks about how playing indoor tennis this year is fun and safe in the Section. With facilities following the recommended and required safety guidelines outlined by the Section and state and local officials, it allows players to get out and enjoy the sport that they love. Read More
Indoor Tennis SuccessesDecember 15, 2020Recently two tournament directors held indoor youth tennis tournaments with success integrating new health and safety protocols. They met the challenges head-on and explained precisely how they succeeded with their events. Read about Strike Zone in Washington D.C. and Summit Tennis Academy in West Virginia who have successfully run indoor tournaments while emphasizing safety. Read More