Players work together to host invitational in Topeka
The USTA Missouri Valley 65 & Over Section Invitational was hosted Sept. 26-28 at Kossover Tennis Center in Topeka, Kan. Sixty-two players registered for the tournament and play prevailed despite rain on Sunday.
The event soldiered forward through COVID-19 protocols thanks to the hard work of coordinators and the players who pushed to get local leagues rolling again.
“It all started when several of our members saw on the USTA website that the invitational was still a go,” said Amy Mathew, District League Coordinator. “I got quite a few phone calls to see if that was a mistake or not, but after doing some double checking myself, I found out that it was tentatively still going to happen. Bob Keeshan [Topeka Tennis Association president] got in touch with me about it. This is obviously my first year, and my first big event, so I naturally I said ‘Sure, I can definitely make this happen!’"
Mathew says the largest obstacle was pulling together league teams in time to qualify for the event.
“Kansas has an amazing group of 65s in the adult 7.0 & 8.0 divisions that said they had ‘unfinished business,’ so I definitely couldn't let these guys down,” Mathew said. “The captain of the USTA Kansas 8.0 division winner, Jim Bauersfeld, went so far as to cover his opposing team’s entry fee, just so that they could actually have a league. It was a kind gesture for his opposing team to play.”
With the players raring to go, the only thing left was to make sure everyone was prepared to follow COVID safety guidelines at the tournament.
“We had temperature screenings for all players and spectators, virtual captain meetings, hand sanitizer stations and one-touch scorecard turn in,” Mathew said. “It's amazing what small changes you can do to make a safer environment for all. I am very proud of our USTA Kansas players. I think their energy and enthusiasm took them all the way!”