Happy Holidays from USTA Kansas
2020 has been unlike any other year. Even though it started out bleakly with COVID-19 causing the suspension of all junior and adult sanctioned products and events at the beginning of March, play slowly started opening again in late May and early June. Many of you stayed safe and at home, and many of you were anxious to get back out on the tennis courts to play. With all its challenges, 2020 was still a great year for playing tennis and for USTA Kansas. Here are some highlights:
With so much unknown, I am very proud of our USTA Kansas staff and board for working together to get tennis back up and running in our district. USTA Kansas Junior Team Tennis Coordinator, Janet Glaser, did a great job of creating a staggered schedule for Junior Team Tennis. Junior players were able to safely play a full summer season of JTT at Riverside and are looking forward to playing a condensed winter season as well.
At the beginning of the year, USTA Kansas hired Amy Mathew as the new USTA Kansas District League Coordinator. There is nothing like being thrown into the deep end of a pool to learn how to swim and Amy did a great job of getting adult leagues up and running again once play reopened. Because most of the sectional and national events were canceled due to the pandemic, the local level progressing leagues were also canceled. However, Amy initiated new local flex leagues such as Kansas Team Tennis (fashioned after World Team Tennis) and Combo Leagues to facilitate the desire for play.
As mentioned, not all Section and National Championships were canceled which means that the championship events had to be played somewhere. USTA Kansas was the only district that was able to host these three Section Championships: 65 & Over Men’s Invitational (hosted at Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka, Kansas), 65 & Over Women’s Invitational (hosted at Genesis Rock Road in Wichita, Kansas), and the 3.5-4.5 Men’s and Women’s Tri-Level Section Championship (hosted at Crestview and Genesis Rock Road in Wichita, Kansas). Amy did a great job facilitating these events while keeping the players safe. USTA Kansas is sending a 7.0 and 8.0 65 & Over Men’s teams to nationals which will be held at the end of January 2021!
Shoutout to all the USTA Kansas district award winners for 2020! Even with limited play, these winners went above and beyond to get back out on the tennis courts to play and to promote tennis.
We are looking forward to moving past 2020 and are excited for what lies ahead in 2021. You have probably already heard the rumors that effective immediately USTA junior memberships are FREE and beginning in 2021 USTA organizational memberships will also be FREE. There will be junior play opportunities through the new Net Generation Pathway, new adult tournaments, and new adult leagues on the horizon. Our Tennis Service Representative, Jaren Glaser, has been working tirelessly promoting tennis in our Kansas community and schools.
Thank you to all the players who played tennis during these unprecedented times. Welcome to those players who are new to tennis! We are looking forward to a great and celebratory 2021!
Becky Samaniego, USTA Kansas Executive Director