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We are allowing anonymous Letters to the Editor because we understand your position and have experienced USTA backlash to dissenting voices ourselves. Please be aware whenever a letter is signed with The Commish it's always a tennis director, a teaching professional, a vendor or a USTA insider who is in fear of retribution. Thank you. We look forward to the day when everyone can voice their opinion freely and without fear.


Transgender Feature in July

July 1, 2022

“What is a woman?” A WOMAN BIOLOGICALLY BLEEDS PERIOD! No pun intended!

As a woman, and a mother I really like what you wrote.  The biggest difference between a male and a female all seem to really and truly ignore and forget is we women BLEED monthly!  Yes, body parts these days can be surgically altered including breasts and private parts (I don’t know what type of side effects or issues one faces after a nip and tuck - only they know), but one biological fact none can alter is biologically women have their periods.  This is the biggest factor when competing men have a whole different muscle strength and power than women in sports, I feel.  Also, some may say allowing a man to wear a sanitary pad to make it equal (some may come up with that excuse) or insert a tampon (where for a male?) still does not make a man feel the discomfort of what they endure while playing sports, it is uncomfortable, we can stain, we have to change constantly and the cramps are by far the worst.

Why people don’t get this I don’t understand.  No matter how you excuse or dissect it, this fact of what makes a woman a woman no humans have the ability to change thus in sports there has to be a women’s only tournament, a men’s only tournament, and Transgenders can have their own open where men or woman can also compete call it TransOPEN. All welcome but they definitely cannot enter a woman’s tournament where the playing field is biological and definitely not LEVEL!

Yes, there are many other factors. Women go through hot flashes, hormonal changes, can give birth to a baby (because she bleeds), go through postpartum depression, breastfeeding challenges, and much more.  I am for all having the choice and freedom to do whatever they choose to do with their bodies as “ADULTS” but fairness in sports and competition has to be monitored. WOMEN BLEED - NO ONE CAN ARGUE OR CHANGE THIS OR ALTER OR RECREATE – IT IS BIOLOGY!


Aruna Bernier

TennisBuddys, LLC  Founder/Owner/Operator/Director of Tennis

Austin, Texas

Formula One Economic Effect

June 29, 2022

Hi Rich,


I hope your week is off to a great start. I just wanted to drop you a quick note. You might appreciate this.


The economic effect that we are seeing in Formula 1 right now is a great case study for tennis. If you have a good media and fan experience, it has a magnifier effect that drives your willingness to watch more, buy within the sport, attend an event, further drive investment in the sport and more. And, that effect can happen very quickly if the media and fan experience is done right.

Tom Wilhelm

Chief Executive Officer

Ace Network



July 1, 2022



I think you mentioned that the loss of revenue caused by fewer certifications would be a hardship.  Fewer members translates to fewer certification fees and conference attendees.


Members who questioned the move from Houston would say that is what caused the reduced certification revenue to be a problem. I don't know the specifics, but think USPTA owned real estate in Houston. Part of it was revenue generating. That real estate in TX was sold, including the revenue-generating property to purchase the property in Florida.  I thought they built in Florida and own the property there. 


There are questions about how well that has worked out. It is my perception that John is a cheapskate to keep the business afloat or to prevent it from having to dig into the reserves. They moved to be closer to the USTA - but there don't seem to be any advantages from that.


I think Tom Daglis, Tommie McGraw, and Chuck Gill were the presidents that created that mess.  Embree sold them on Florida.  

Btw, I received a reminder to check my Safe Play Compliance from the USPTA yesterday. In the past, the USTA has always sent me a notice during the month of my expiration date, so there is no need for USPTA to send this out.  Has USPTA become the billing agent for USTA and Net Gen? 


The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

July 27, 2022



I want to welcome Jack Groppel and Jim Loehr back to the spotlight at the 2022 USPTA World Conference. The Dynamic Duo are once again headliners.


Over the years their research has advanced the sport and they played a critical role in making the USPTA a great organization. At one point, they served on the USPTA Board but left because of the organization's lack of leadership and direction. Please help me welcome Jim and Jack back and thank them for their many contributions to the sport!


The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

July 30, 2022



Early in the summer, the USPTA flooded social media with the message they had buyer’s remorse. They are not going to seek re-accreditation with the USTA as a certifying organization. As if that wasn’t enough, nearly four pages of the recent RSI magazine were dedicated to this topic - three of those pages were penned by the USPTA.


Without prodding from the USTA, what has the USPTA done to improve the certification process over the past decade?


How many members did the USPTA certify in 2020, 2021, and so far in 2022?


The USPTA made a reasonable decision, but enough is enough.  It is time for the USPTA to start delivering the goods!


The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them

July 30, 2022



Hats off to the ITA, USTA Southern Cal, University of San Diego, and PTR for hosting the Women Who Ace Conference on August 5th, 2022.

In addition, the PTR announced the “Because We Can” program designed to give female coaches the opportunity, tools, and skills to be a bigger part of the tennis industry.


The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them



July 8, 2022



For me, it was seeing top doubles players either pass or drop out of playing due to the fact that no points could be accumulated.  The talk early was how points, not money, make the difference…not true, the points create seeding and ranking, and for doubles teams that means more invites and more sponsors, and yes, more money.  In addition, for a doubles team to play at Wimbledon, there are many expenses…i.e. travel, food and room, and coaching.  There is this though, wouldn’t the prestige of winning a Wimbledon title be worth playing for, or has this event lost its draw?  Remember when Steffi Graf pulled out right before the mixed final leaving John McEnroe just holding his racket handle? 

Rod Heckelman

General Manager

Mt. Tam Racquet Club
Larkspur, California

USTA Interview

July 19, 2022



I listened to the USTA interview with Amy Choyne.  Her background is in retail - just like Embree.  She is doing some interesting things.  Will they support the growth of tennis? 


There were 155 people who listened to the 30-minute discussion. Based on the titles, I saw only a handful who appeared to work in the tennis industry.


In a nutshell, USTA is operating in a different world than the tennis population. They are either visionaries or out of touch.


The Commish

Everywhere, USA

Pronouns: They/Them


TV Ads with Tennis as a Backdrop

July 23, 2022

I was watching the '22 MLB All-Star Baseball Game on Tuesday evening and one of the advertisements promoted Michelob Ultra. The commercial featured a young woman strolling, dancing across a colorful "red clay" tennis court at a club. Her playful and stylish tennis look was perfect for a fun game of tennis with her partner and a thirst-quenching drink of a cold bottled Ultra at courtside.

It's compelling to me, that very often corporate America promotes tennis in the background. With the relatively new game of PickleBall and all the media hype and attention it gets with its growth and participation, you would think that visual of play would be highlighted as a backdrop. My point is, tennis is still the "mainstream" sport for a fun athletic game and a social spirit. Everyone is familiar with tennis, so it's a no-brainer to use tennis players associated with a product and brand placement. Many national TV ads feature active and/or former pro players and celebrities, so hopefully, that will inspire additional play within the fan base.

Essentially, tennis gets free exposure promoting our sport in a casual, upbeat setting through the TV screen. I hope the tennis industry capitalizes on this additional platform of press and develops programming that attracts participation in our game. If the corporate marketing gurus think tennis attracts "eyeballs" then, by all means, tennis leadership should take advantage of their message.

Every time I see tennis on TV other than at tennis tournament matches, it gets me interested to play some tennis with a friend. So players, suit up and gear-up, for a fun experience, and with the hot weather these days, pop open a cold-chilled one at anyone!

Leo Estopare

Deuce Something

Wichita, Kansas


  • They have some good people. That add very little value to tennis in our district. There is more to tennis that leagues and tournaments. They should be promoting tennis rather than the USTA. Nothing has changed in over 30 years.

  • Local tennis has been decimated by the USTA NorCal, used to have Regional Director's visit constantly trying to support tennis.

  • From full voicemail systems to little effort to promote senior tournaments and support high school tennis, the USTA/PNW is dismal. The salaries of the executive director and assistant are obscene.

  • USTA and Federal Government are bloated bureaucracies....not serving the middle class of their constituents.

  • They seem determined to destroy adult competitive tennis in our District. Tournaments are not evaluated at all and the tournaments constantly show errors in seeding and scheduling. The Section doesn't care as it pays zero attention to them. DO NOT POST MY NAME

  • They have been very supportive of clubs during Covid 19

  • There is tremendous potential for growth. They control the teaching pros, sit on their laurels, and do not promote the sport. The appearance is they are more interested in control rather than promoting the sport. A change of leadership has been needed for a long time.

  • They are clueless, selfish, political, and out of touch

  • They're incredibly supportive with grants to programs in our area, and their communication is almost always instantaneous. They seem to do well with what little resources they have and do try new things when they can. The SW staff have a couple people that are true leaders in their field (League Coordinator, Marketing Director) that are very well-respected in the industry.

  • A lot of work still needs to be done by the USTA

  • Middle States is very Philly (Philadelphia) centric, which makes Western PA feel like very distant cousins.

  • Usta only cares to grow its own profits and not help older programs set up people to take them over so they last for ages. It’s all what sticks to the wall this month.

  • Not really, its all just sad

  • USTA Texas has excellent leadership in place! They are professionals who truly care about our sport!

  • Too much turnover, not enough transparency.

  • Great Hard working Staff. Good Support of local programs throughout Section as well as major Section Sponsored events.

  • WE are losing Tennis Courts to PickleBall!!!

  • I am a former(now retired) college tennis coach and former teaching pro.

  • Tennis participation is down and USTA has no clue on how to bring it back up. Pickleball is drawing tennis players to their game.

  • Tournament Director need consistency with new software and seeding players. USTA leagues shouldn't overlap clubs permanent court time season. Too difficult to find courts. Can 40+ add the 5th line back, so team match win make more sense. If it's because lack of 40+ single players, then add a doubles team back.

  • The USTA Sections are replicating the culture and structure of National. Overpaid and underproductive staff and layers of managers to protect the ED's from any accountability.


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