USTA Missouri Valley Local Connections at the 2022 US Open
The US Open is an incredible experience annually for all who have the privilege of attending. USTA Missouri Valley has many local connections this year that are attending the Open for various reasons.
Here, we hope to show you a first-hand view of the different activites going on at this year's US Open. This page will be continually updated with updated information and insight from our local connections in New York.
The festivities kicked off on Saturday, August 27 with the Arthur Ashe Kids Day where kids were able to come experience tennis activities and more!
Arthur Ashe Kids Day
USTA Missouri Valley was lucky enough to have two staff member who were selected to volunteer at Arthur Ashe Kids Day this year. Jaren Glaser, Tennis Service Representative for USTA Kansas and USTA Heart of America, and Lindsay Hall, USTA Missouri Valley Community Play Manager, both helped out at the event. Volunteers are selected by the USTA based on merit and community impact. Jaren and LIndsay were both more than deserving of this honor are made the most of their time volunteering.
"I’m extremely humbled by the opportunity to be apart of Arthur Ashe Kids Day, helping to share the amazing sport of tennis with so many kiddos! In addition to helping create an amazing event for youth, I’m excited to learn the backend logistics that go into the event! I’m hoping I can take pieces of that and apply them here locally in MOValley to help create even better events for our communities!" - Lindsay Hall
"I feel so honored to have been asked to assist with the execution of such a large humanitarian event that provides opportunities for kids and families on such a grand scale . I strongly believe in the sports ability to supersede barriers and create community and I believe that Arthur Ashe would be so proud of how this event embodies his value of each person. This event may appear to only benefit those in the New York area but it’s ripples extend across the country. I’m excited to both use my experience offering kids days and activations as well as to use what I learn from working on this event across USTA Missouri Valley." - Jaren Glaser
Officials at the US Open
We also had five officials selected to work at the US Open. it shoudl go without saying that this is one of the highest honor for any tennis official. Our officiating chair, Verne Weber, does a great job training and supporting his officials to put them in a position to succeed. We know our five officials will represent USTA Missouri Valley well. Congratulations to the five officials below for their contributions and this high honor.
Sheila Conway - USTA Oklahoma
Diane Lawrence - USTA Kansas
Nick Flentie - USTA Kansas
Kim Kilgore - USTA Missouri
Cindy Ritchie - USTA Oklahoma
A Local Stringer on Tour
Joe Heydt of Omaha, Neb. has been stringing on tour for 15 years. He's strung at every Grand Slam event other than Wimbledon (although that's certainly on his bucket list). He says he still needs to pinch himself sometimes to remind himself that this is real. He acknowledges how lucky he is to be doing this, but he's more than earned this honor with his incredible work and willingness to learn new techniques from other world-class stringers.
While he enjoys every minute of his experiences, he says it's far from a vacation. He and the rest of the stringers frequently work 14-16 hour days over the course of a tournament. Over the three weeks of the tournament (qualifying tournament included), their team of 22 will string more than 5,000 racquest, including 500 or more on their busiest days.
"I’ve strung frames for grand slam winners, watched matches from the photo pit in Arthur Ashe stadium with Federer serving right at me, spoken with players about tension changes, eaten lunch next to touring pros and their families, witnessed McEnroe flip out at a line call during a practice session, and watched Gael Monfils show off his soccer skills in the player’s courtyard. With three of the four grand slams under my belt (Wimbledon is missing from my collection) I’ve had a wonderful time doing what I do, but I need to keep pinching myself," Heydt said.
Former Missouri Valley Junior Player Gets Wild Card Entry
Former USTA Missouri Valley junior standout Murphy Cassone earned a wild card entry into the men's singles draw. Originally from Overland Park, Kan., Cassone was the ITA's national Rookie of the Year after a standout freshman season at Arizona State University. He played well in a hard-fought match against Great Britain's Liam Broady before ultimately falling 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 1-6. Congratulations to Murphy on this achievement! We can't wait to see what you'll accomplish next.
Kansas City Teacher Goes to the US Open
A Lee's Summit, Mo. teacher had a lifelong dream come true this year when she won tickets to the US Open. Ashleigh Grumke, who also coaches tennis at Lee's Summit High School, was at a Tennis Industry United party in the spring when she won a drawing for tickets to the 2022 US Open. Having never been to a Grand Slam event, this was a dream come true for her.
"I attended the KC tennis appreciation night with the other two tennis coaches from Lee’s Summit High School and as prizes were being given out we were all hoping that one of us would win a tennis bag or a US Open towel. But when they called my name for the tickets we all were in shocked and then we all tried to contain our excitement so we wouldn’t make a scene," Grumke said. "I have played tennis since I was thirteen and have been coaching high school tennis for nine years. I clearly love the sport. As a lover of the game, I have always dreamed of seeing a grand slam and never realized it would be made a reality. "
She said some of her favorite parts were watching Coco Gauff beat Shuai Zhang inside Arthur Ashe Stadium and watching Taylor Townsend warm up with her coach. She said it was great to see the different drills and warm-ups that different coaches would use with their players.
Local Wheelchair Players Represent at the US Open
Two local wheelchair tennis players represented our section at the US Open this year. Casey Ratzlaff of Wichita appeared in his second career US Open this year. He competed in both the singles and doubles competitions. He made it to the quarterfinals in doubles before bowing out in three sets.
Lily Lautenschlager of Omaha made her first US Open appearance, competing in both the junior singles and doubles. She fell in straight sets in the quarterfinals in the singles draw. However, she had an incredible run in the doubles competition. Competing as the second-seeded team, Lautenschlager and her partner, Britain's Ruby Bishop, rolled to a second place finish. They ultimately lost to the top-seeded team from Brazil in the finals.
What a great week of play from both Ratzlaff and Lautenschlager. We couldn't be more proud of how they represented themselves and our section! Congratulations to both players on their accomplishments.
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