Nine Missouri Valley Officials Selected To Work US Open
August 26, 2019
Nine officials from USTA Missouri Valley have had the honor of being selected to work the US Open in New York from August 26 through September 8, 2019.
The nine officials are Cynthia Baine (USTA Missouri), Sheila Conway (USTA Oklahoma), Nick Flentie (USTA Kansas), Kimberly Kilgore (USTA Missouri), Cheryl Lady (USTA Heart of America), Diane Lawrence (USTA Kansas), Alvin Penelton (USTA St. Louis), Lisa Rieff (USTA Nebraska), and Cindy Ritchie (USTA Oklahoma).
We got in touch with some of these officials to ask about their upcoming week in New York:
USTA.com: What are you most looking forward to about this experience?
Rieff: “The Open is an incredible experience. I look forward to seeing all the friends I've met, not only from all over the US, but from all over the world! It's a great chance to broaden your horizons. ADVERTISEMENT I'm also looking forward to sharing a few days in NYC with two of my daughters. It will be their first time here and everyone is so excited for the trip!”
Flentie: “At the end of the match, there is a sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing that without the work we’ve done, the match couldn’t have been played with the level of quality and professionalism that it was. A very close second is getting to spend two weeks in New York City.”
Kilgore: “It is both an honor and a privilege to represent my section at the US Open. I always look forward to being in New York City and working at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The venue is wonderful and the tennis is great. I also enjoy reconnecting with tennis officiating friends from around the world.”
Lady: “It’s very exciting to be at the US Open. I look forward to working on court. Officials find out their court assignments each day. I look forward to seeing U.S. officials and international officials that I only see at the Open. One of the best things about being an official is meeting other officials and developing friendships.”
USTA.com: How have your officiating duties within USTA Missouri Valley prepared you for this opportunity?
Rieff: “The Missouri Valley has prepared me for this role by first giving me two mentors to teach me the ropes of officiating. Then, I attended a line clinic in Kansas City to learn proper techniques. From there, I started working pro circuit events in the Missouri Valley as a line umpire. After working within the Missouri Valley for several years, I branched out to more events and worked my first Open in 2014.”
Kilgore: “The training and developmental opportunities offered to me by the Missouri Valley section over the past 14 years have allowed me to grow and develop as an official, allowing me to work at the Grand Slam level.”
Flentie: “Every level of the game creates challenges that call for an official to solve the problem and maintain the integrity of the sport. Missouri Valley junior events are where I first learned how to apply that skill. Many long weekends at the Plaza Tennis Center provided me with the base that I use even in Grand Slam finals.”
USTA.com: How is working the US Open different than working a USTA Missouri Valley tournament?
Lady: “The US Open is the biggest tennis stage in the world. The atmosphere is electric with so many people there.”
Kilgore: “It’s officiating at the highest level—a Grand Slam event—but yet, at the end of the day, it’s all still tennis. The ball is either in or it’s out.”
USTA.com: What are you hoping to gain from this experience?
Kilgore: “I hope to gain even more experience as an official and to represent the Missouri Valley section well!”
Lady: “Each experience as an official helps you to become a better official. We learn things at each event - each match. Working at the biggest stage will help make me a better, more confident official.”
Flentie: “I do it to help provide a fair environment for these matches to be played in, and for the enjoyment that comes from being part of the action.”
USTA.com: What do you love most about being an official?
Kilgore: “What I love most about being an official is the tennis! Who doesn’t want to wake up every morning doing something they love? I do, however, value all of the friendships that I have been blessed with over the years with my fellow officials; the tennis officiating career will end one day, but the friendships will last a lifetime!”
Lady: “I love seeing players develop from juniors to college players to professional level players. I love to see the differences in the athletes and how they compete.”
USTA.com: Are there any places that are a “must go” for you to visit while in New York?
Kilgore: “Definitely a Broadway show (or two!), a little shopping, a walk through Central Park, an evening in Times Square, and doing a live class/ride at the NYC Peloton studio! Oh, and you can’t leave without having some NY pizza!”
USTA.com: If you won a trip to a Grand Slam of your choice, which would you pick and why?
Flentie: “I’ve been to the US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open, and to me the US Open is the best. It’s the place where I feel that the world truly comes together for one shared experience.”
USTA.com: What's in your bag? (i.e. how Tennis Channel does the bag check)
Rieff: “Sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm and dental floss. Those four items are a must for me! I also have an umbrella, ponytail holders and bobby pins. I carry several pens and highlighters to mark my daily crew sheets. I also always have some cough drops and hard candy available to keep my throat moist for calling lines.”
We hope you will join us in congratulating the officials selected to work the 2019 US Open. Their selection is a testament to their hard work and dedication to officiating.
The US Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world, and is held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. To follow all things 2019 US Open, check out the official US Open Series website.