Pride Month Spotlight: Queen City Open
This summer, there are fantastic tournament opportunities through the Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance (GLTA). GLTA is a not-for-profit international organization with a mission of promoting access, diversity and acceptance within the sport.
GLTA sanctions tennis tournaments all over the world, including several in the Midwest this summer! The Queen City Open will take place this September in Cincinnati, Ohio. To help us give an overview of the history surrounding this event and the impact it has, we spoke with the president of Queen City Tennis Association, Jeff Morgeson. We salute Morgeson whose dedication, support and talents continue to grow the game of tennis every day!
About GLTA World Tour
Jeff Morgeson: "The GLTA was first formed [about] 30 years ago in California. From there, local clubs and tournaments have sprung up over time and there are now over 80 tournaments worldwide on five continents. They were created as a way to enjoy tennis in a safe, welcoming environment without judgment or fear. The tournaments require dedicated volunteers willing to give up personal time, and sometimes, personal resources to plan and run these events. I founded the Queen City Open in Cincinnati in 2015 because I wanted to have the opportunity to have players come and enjoy the amazing facility at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, home to the ATP Masters Western and Southern Open. Through these tournaments, we also help raise money for good causes, which for us is Buddy Up Tennis; an adaptive tennis and fitness program for children with Down Syndrome. Through our six years of tournaments, we have been able to raise more than $12,000 for this fantastic organization.
What feedback do you get from these tournaments?
Jeff Morgeson: "All of the GLTA tournaments, whether it be in the Midwest or anywhere around the world, generally have great success because they provide a welcoming and fun atmosphere for everyone involved. Whether LGBTQ or straight, whether you've played high-level tennis for 40 years or just picked up [a racquet] last week, the tournaments welcome everyone to play without judgment or fear of intimidation for your sexuality or skill level. The tournaments also provide a number of social activities throughout the weekend to go along with the tennis that makes them fun, even for the novice. They become events just as much as they are tennis tournaments."
Are tournament preparations coming along for the Queen City Open?
Jeff Morgeson: "Tournament prep is a year-long process but really picks up, as expected, in the last three months before the tourney begins. My tournament, the Queen City Open in Cincinnati, is September 10th through the 12th. So planning is in full swing from our small committee of five people."
Will anything be different this year due to Covid-19?
Jeff Morgeson: "Now that the country has resumed somewhat [closer] to normality, there shouldn't be too much of a difference this year from previous years. We will require a Covid waiver in the tournament entry. We will also recommend all non-vaccinated players wear masks when not on a court."
What is one of your favorite tournament memories?
Jeff Morgeson: "My favorite tournament memory was probably from the Gay Olympic Games 2014 in Cleveland. I had the honor to play with one of my best friends in mixed doubles and we were fortunate to take home a silver medal. My favorite memory from my own tournament was coming back to win a singles title against my best friend and doubles partner after being down 5-1 in a third set tiebreak."
What do you look forward to working on next?
Jeff Morgeson: "After the Midwest tournaments end, I will hopefully get to travel to some other events outside the Midwest. After that, I will need to decide whether to continue on as tournament director for another year or pass the reigns to someone else. It has been a fun, but sometimes exhausting, seven years. Time will tell!"
In addition to the Queen City Open, there are two more GLTA World Tour tournaments being hosted in the Midwest this summer. The Motor City Tennis Classic will take place in Detroit, Michigan July 24th through July 26th. Also, the IndyTennis Classic is August 27th through the 29th in Indianapolis, Indiana. To view the complete tour schedule, click here.
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