Missouri Valley / St. Louis

USTA St. Louis Forms Multiple All-New Committees

Josh Sellmeyer | March 13, 2023

USTA St. Louis has established four brand-new committees — and is revitalizing a dormant one — all aimed at improving offerings and service to the St. Louis tennis community while likewise growing the sport locally. Individuals interested in applying to serve on a committee can complete this online application.


The new committees are:


Adult Tournament Committee


This committee will help plan, market and staff all adults tournaments in the USTA St. Louis district. If you want more tournaments, different offerings or to make current tourneys better, we want you on this committee. Additionally, anyone with a background in event planning, marketing, social media and/or information technology possesses skills we need on this committee.


Court Advocacy Committee


This committee will help USTA St. Louis increase our communication and foster relationships with schools, public entities and private entities that manage tennis facilities. Thus ensuring these organizations know we are here to support them and tennis.


Given the rise of pickleball, we also need to advocate for tennis with public entities to keep our current courts and add additional courts. We want people on this committee who work or volunteer in public school systems, school boards, local municipalities or are involved in operating public outdoor facilities who can help us expand our contacts. We also want individuals who are civic-minded and would like to advocate for tennis with local municipalities.


Social Tennis Committee


This committee will assist USTA St. Louis with remaining in contact with post-junior players who are in college or in their 20s and want to return to the sport or begin playing tennis.


We also want to plan more social tennis events. Social tennis reduces competitiveness and enhances fun. We are looking for people 18 to 39 to aid us in best meeting the needs of this age group as well as anyone who’d like to help plan, organize and run social tennis events.


Adult Fair Play Committee


This committee — which is already up and running — is chartered to view our rules and make strategic changes to help address unfairness. Additionally, this committee has an investigative role to look into claims of unfair competition.


Junior Play Committee


Formerly the Junior Competition Committee, this revitalized committee will help review junior tournament policies/regulations and provide input on the district tournament schedule. The committee will consist of individuals knowledgeable about junior tournaments. Experience should include involvement as a Tournament Director, player, coach, parent of a player, club owner or official.


How the Committees Were Created


Paul Petruska, who began serving on the USTA St. Louis Board of Directors as vice president of adults earlier this year, has been instrumental in the development of the new adult committees. Petruska said he applied to join the board of directors to better learn and understand the inner workings of USTA St. Louis.


“After thinking about it for a while, I decided this is a great idea,” Petruska said. “Get on the board, see what’s going on, get the straight scoop. See how USTA looks at pickleball, see how USTA is handling what they’re doing. And then if I can make a change, great. I’ll help out.”


Petruska — who has participated and captained in USTA St. Louis leagues since 2011 at the 18+ and 40+ levels and has also played in tri-level leagues — initially developed the Adult Fair Play Committee. The creation of that committee led to collaboration with executive director Megan Kovacs, who also recognized the need for multiple committees to assist USTA St. Louis staff members on a variety of critical topics.


“The Adult Fair Play Committee is meant to deal with unfairness and not so much rule violations,” Petruska said. “We are chartered to look at our rules and make strategic changes to those that will help address unfairness. You can never stop unfair competition by rules. People find ways around the rules. We have an investigative role to look into claims of unfair competition. And then make a recommendation whether USTA should as a district do something about it.”


Petruska said the Adult Tournament Committee was formed to assist USTA St. Louis Executive Director Megan Kovacs and staff members with the planning, marketing and directing of adult tourneys. The Social Tennis Committee will aid USTA St. Louis staff with promoting upcoming social leagues, events and opportunities.


The Court Advocacy Committee will work on gaining access to public tennis courts and encouraging local facility operators to apply for USTA grants.


“Our summer leagues need public courts, and we seem to have some issues with that,” Petruska said. “We have grants available to people. There are a lot of places that have public courts and may not even know we have grants available. We can reach out to communities and let them know, ‘Hey, we can help you. Can you help us?’”


Petruska said he has long been interested in better understanding the day-to-day efforts of USTA St. Louis. He’s excited to get an inside look from his position on the board and with the formation of these committees. He encourages individuals who’d like to learn more about USTA St. Louis’s operations and enhance the district’s services to apply to join a committee or two.


“If you want to know more about how USTA actually works, what we do and how we do it, getting on a committee would be the perfect way to do that,” Petruska said. “And then more importantly, if you really want to help us better the game and you have specific skills for those specific committees, you’re going to help us achieve our main goal of growing the game.”



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