Missouri Valley / Heart Of America

Stay Involved With Tennis By Becoming An Official

Jerod Fox | May 22, 2020

Tennis is a great sport to stay active in as a player, but if your playing days have come to an end, or you’re searching for other ways to make an impact in the tennis community, there are plenty of ways to do just that. One of those ways is by officiating, and the process of becoming a USTA certified official is so easy, you can start it from the comfort of your own home with online courses.


Take it from Melissa DeGasperi, who has been officiating since 2014, before the online courses had been rolled out.


“I think it’s so much better now that they have the online training,” she said. “Officiating is a great way to give back to the tennis community.”


Essential in recruiting DeGasperi as an official was Cheryl Lady, who is the USTA Heart of America’s District Chair of Officials.

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Lady has been an official since 2012, and began her journey working at local junior events, but has worked her way up to national events such as the NCAA DII Championships, the USTA Wheelchair Championships and the US Open.


“You have to be a self-starter.  While there are people who can help answer questions and guide you, it is up to the individual to do the necessary work.” Lady said. “If you have an interest, all you have to do is get after it because there are many opportunities available.” 


Officiating is a great way to build opportunities within the game, and gain new experiences that might not be possible otherwise.


“Officiating is a great way to enjoy the game, watch athletes develop, and meet people from all over the world,” Lady said. “You learn from each event that you work and from the experiences of other officials that are invaluable."


It is a rewarding job, as well. Not only can you receive compensation for your time, but you also gain friends and watch players develop right before your eyes.


“What I like most about it is watching the kids develop from year to year,” DeGasperi said. “One year you may have tears, and the next year you see so much more maturity. It’s really gratifying.”


There is a learning curve when adjusting from being a tennis player to a tennis official, but there are plenty of resources that come in handy when better learning the rules. One of those resources is Friend at Court, the book of U.S. tennis rules and regulations.

“As a player, I thought I had a good understanding of the rules of tennis, but after reading the Friend at Court, I was amazed at how many rules I wasn’t aware of,” DeGasperi said.


Tennis is consistently in need of new officials with a passion for the sport. According to Lady, it is something that anybody with an interest can become involved in. You can sign up for an OfficialsFirst membership and begin the process today.


“I think anybody that loves the game of tennis would enjoy being any official,” Lady said.

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