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Officiating Spotlight: John Hundsnurscher
November 14-18 is Officiating Appreciation Week. This week we’re celebrating the hard work and dedication of USTA Officials who help keep the sport of tennis fair and fun. Tennis referees and officials come from all backgrounds and walks of life from across Texas, but share a common vision: helping keep tennis competition fair and friendly.
Q&A with USTA Official, John Hundsnurscher
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is John Hundsnurscher. I have been a United States Tennis Association official since 2016. I am also an Intercollegiate Tennis Association official since 2022.
Don’t let my last name fool you. Even though I am proud of my American/Austrian heritage, I consider myself Hispanic. Why is that? My mother was from hispanic descent and we spoke mainly spanish at our house while I was growing up. Besides, my skin color will tell you that. The families in the neighborhood where I grew up were all hispanic so, there you go.
It was the summer of 72' when I started playing the game that would change my life. I played varsity high school tennis in my sophomore, junior, and senior years, playing in many local and out of town tournaments. Unfortunately, I did not play college tennis. I had to work and help my parents.
In 1985 I was hired by the Laredo Fire Department after passing a written and agility test and in 1986 I got married and suddenly tennis was in my rear view mirror. In 2007, I got back into the game of tennis when my young daughter was watching Maria Sharapova play in the US Open on TV. She would go on to receive a full scholarship to play tennis at Laredo College for two years and was successful at it.
In 2014, I retired from the Laredo Fire Department after over thirty years of service to my community as an Acting Fire Captain/Fire Driver. In 2016, I became the Men’s and Women’s Assistant Tennis Coach for Laredo College for five years until COVID 19 shut down the athletics program and a year later the Board of Trustees of the College voted to disband the Athletic program completely. I have given private tennis lessons and I also string tennis rackets for free for local high school players. I have been married to my wife, Aminda for over thirty five years and we have two grown children: My son, Justin Allen is a Business teacher at a local high school and my daughter is a coach in one of our local school districts. They both speak fluent spanish.
How did you get introduced to officiating?
I was introduced to officiating by Dr. Alfredo Trevino who was a local USTA official, USTA tournament director, and once the USTA Texas President. So, I asked Dr. Trevino about becoming an official and he gave me the information and I went right to work in gaining my certification. I am now a certified Referee, Roving Umpire, Chair Umpire, and Line Umpire. I love officiating the game of tennis. It’s my passion now.
Why did you become an Official?
In my time playing in USTA tournaments, I would see officials roving the tennis courts and ensuring that the matches were conducted by the rules of tennis. I became fascinated by the position of a tennis official. I wanted that adrenaline feeling again and energy from everyone around me. Enforcing the rules and that the game of tennis is played under the best conditions.
How often do you officiate?
I officiate all of my local USTA tournaments. I also officiate Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) matches, high school district matches, high school team dual matches, and Universal Tennis Rating (UTR) tournaments year round.
Where do you officiate?
I officiate USTA tournaments in my hometown of Laredo, but if an opportunity arises to officiate USTA tournaments out of town, I am up to it. I also officiate ITA team dual matches and tournaments in Edinburg, Victoria, and Corpus Christi Texas. I also officiate local and out of town high school district tournaments. The UTR tournaments I officiate are only in my hometown of Laredo, Texas.
What is your background with the sport of tennis?
Obviously I am a tennis player. I am also a personal tennis coach, and former college tennis coach.
Do you think having a background as a player helps you as an official?
Oh sure, most certainly. Knowing the pressures a player goes through and the strategies they try use to change the momentum in a match and possibly the outcome makes my officiating come easy.
What would be a piece of advice that you would share with a new official?
The piece of advice I would give to a new official is to stay calm at all times even though your adrenaline is rushing and needing to stay firm on their decisions. Read the Friend At Court from cover to cover, know the rules. Experienced players tend to try to take advantage of new officials and to challenge them on the court.
What is your favorite part of officiating?
My favorite part of officiating is a very competitive hard hitting match. Stakes are high and I like to keep the players firm to their match play.
What is the most challenging part of officiating?
Lets see, I think the most challenging part of officiating is having nine matches going on at the same time and roving through each court making sure I am a presence in all of them and available.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on a tennis court?
Fortunately for me, I have never had an embarrassing moment in any match thus far. I am sure it will happen one day.
What does the future hold for your officiating career?
My future in officiating is to do the same kind of work I am doing right now. I can’t wait to officiate on our new local tennis facility to be completed in a few months where the City of Laredo and Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) together will have a state of the art facility that will include (6) National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) collegiate level courts and (12) United States Tennis Association recreational level courts. The courts will be constructed using post-tension concrete and will include sports lighting, fencing, bleachers, canopies/benches, pro shop, multi-purpose areas, locker rooms, training room, a second story observation terrace, and other necessary equipment. It will sit on approximately 11 acres of land within the University. If the opportunity arises to travel to a national tournament, I would certainly consider it.
OAW: John HundsnurscherNovember 17, 2022November 14-18 is Officiating Appreciation Week. This week we’re celebrating the hard work and dedication of USTA Officials who help keep the sport of tennis fair and fun. John Hundsnurscher grew up in Laredo and is eager to share his passion for tennis throughout his community and beyond. Read More
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