TENNIS INDUSTRY: Anne Worcester Named President of Universal Tennis

May 28, 2019 (SAN FRANCISCO, CA) – Universal Tennis, the world’s premier tennis platform, today announced that Anne Worcester, former WTA CEO & Connecticut Open Tournament Director, has joined the company as President.

As President, Worcester will be instrumental in overseeing the growth and development of UTR worldwide. Beyond her leadership at the organization, her focus at the outset will be on increasing grassroots efforts to connect communities to the sport and fostering diverse partnerships within the tennis ecosystem to build participation on the platform.

“What drew me to Universal Tennis is its digitally savvy approach to make tennis more affordable, accessible and fun for all players,” said Anne Worcester, Universal Tennis President. “Level-based play helps to break down some of the biggest barriers to our sport, so that it’s not about age, gender, where you play or how much you can afford. UTR makes it easy to find, connect and play with same level tennis partners, anytime and anywhere. This addresses many of the challenges I have experienced all my life as a recreational player, a parent and 35 years on all sides of professional tennis.” 

“Anne has an exceptional career in tennis, marked by her commitment to improving the game for players and serving as a champion for tennis worldwide. Her dedication to the betterment and growth of the sport is unparalleled,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman & CEO. “Anne is fully aligned with UTR’s mission and vision to create more opportunities and open pathways for players of all levels to grow the game. We are thrilled to have Anne on board.”

Worcester has over 35 years of experience in tennis, working with players, tournaments, sponsors and governing bodies. She was the first female CEO of the WTA, becoming the first woman to head any professional sports organization. Worcester served as the Tournament Director of the Connecticut Open for 21 years, developing the WTA tournament into one of the world’s best attended women’s tennis events and a player favorite. 

Under Worcester’s leadership, the Connecticut Open was widely recognized as a leading example of leveraging professional tennis to build community tennis, especially among inner city youth. In addition, Worcester co-founded New Haven Youth Tennis & Education (New HYTEs), now in its 15th year, which has enriched the lives and positively affected the futures of hundreds of economically disadvantaged inner city youth. Programs include year-round tennis, education and mentoring programs. 

Worcester is a graduate of Duke University. She serves on the boards of the Center for Hearing & Communication and New Haven Youth Tennis & Education (New HYTEs) and will transition to the board of Tennis Foundation of Connecticut. She will be based in Connecticut and New York City. 



TENNIS INDUSTRY: PTR Celebrates 30 Years of Hosting Wheelchair Tennis Chps.

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC — Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) is pleased to announce it has been hosting the Wheelchair Tennis Championships on Hilton Head Island for 30 years. 

The world’s top players and Paralympics winners, as well as all levels, including first time players, compete in this event, which is part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association (USTA Fall Southern Championship) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF).  ITF named this event one of only seven Grade A Junior Tournaments in the world.

To assist in player development, a free clinic will be held Wednesday evening, September 18.  Harlon Matthews will conduct an Instructing Wheelchair Tennis Certification Workshop on Sunday, September 22, from 9am-2pm.  This course trains both able-bodied and wheelchair players the nuances of teaching tennis to people in wheelchairs.

Tournament play begins at 9 am on Thursday September 19, and continues through Sunday, September 22, with Men, Women, Quad and Junior divisions.  Spectators are welcome to enjoy all of the exciting matches.  Able-bodied tennis players are invited to join in a Run-Roll Round Robin on Friday evening, September 20. 


TENNIS INDUSTRY: Midwestern State, Central Oklahoma to Host ITA Indoor Chps.

TEMPE, Ariz. (May 9, 2019) – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced that Midwestern State University and the University of Central Oklahoma will serve as host institutions for the inaugural ITA Division II Men’s and Women’s National Team Indoor Championships in 2020.

The two championships will run in conjunction with each other and are scheduled for Feb. 28 – March 1. The men’s championship will be contested at The Oklahoma City Tennis Center, while the women will compete at Oaktree Country Club in Edmond, Okla.

Dr. Timothy Russell, the ITA’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our Association is committed to serving all of college tennis and we are very excited to be adding these two DII national championships to the calendar, joining the long-standing prestigious sister events in DI and DIII. 

“We believe that the ITA team indoor championships are some of the best and most unique events in all of college sports,” Russell added. “And, aside from the top professional tennis tournaments in the United States like the US Open and the BNP Paribas Open, these events that feature the best college dual matches are a top American tennis product.”

The tournament field for each gender will be comprised of eight teams – the host institution team and seven teams selected according to the final Oracle ITA National Team rankings from the previous season. 

All eight participating teams will be guaranteed three dual matches over three days. The format calls for three doubles matches followed by six singles matches and all dual matches will be played to clinch (first team to reach four points wins).

“I am excited to hear the news that we are expanding the event to (NCAA) DII tennis,” Central Oklahoma women’s head coach Jaron Maestas said. “With all the scares in program cuts, I think the more we can bring to light that small college tennis holds importance to student-athletes as well as communities the better. 

“I am excited not as a coach but as a fan of the sport of tennis. Not every kid will play in front of 5,000 fans but if they have platform to take pride in, it will make them feel like they are,” Maestas added. “This is 100 percent for the student-athletes and that is why I am in this industry.” 

Midwestern State and Central Oklahoma have agreed to host the championships in consecutive years, and the 2021 events are scheduled for Feb. 26-28, 2021.

“We are extremely honored that Midwestern State University (MSU-Texas) has an opportunity to host the first Division II Men’s National Indoor Championship,” MSU-Texas head coach Scott Linn said. “I really appreciate all the hard work that Jaron Maestas at the University of Central Oklahoma has put in to making both a Men’s and Women’s National Indoor Championship a reality for Division II student-athletes. 

“Oklahoma City will be a great host site for both these events,” Linn added. “We want to thank the ITA as well for allowing us the opportunity to showcase these fantastic student-athletes and tennis programs from around the country.”  

With the addition of Division II, the ITA now sponsors national team indoor championships for all three NCAA Divisions (DI, DII, DIII).



TENNIS INDUSTRY: ITA Launches College Tennis Alumni Network

TEMPE, Ariz. (May 8) – In an effort to raise the profile of college tennis, engage alumni and provide a networking vehicle, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced the launch of the College Tennis Alumni Network.
The primary purpose of the network is to help college tennis alumni connect, support current players and alumni as they transition into their chosen field of interest and build an advocate base for college tennis.
“Our mission at the ITA is to serve our membership in a variety of ways that improve the experience of the student-athlete, support their goals on and off the court, keep alumni engaged and grow the game of college tennis,” ITA President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy Russell said. “We are extremely excited to launch the Alumni Network and our expectation is that it will be another tool that helps fulfill our mission of serving the college tennis community.
“With Corey Pegram, our business and development manager, leading this initiative, we believe the it will be a powerful platform that enables current student-athletes and alumni to connect and keeps them engaged in college tennis throughout their lives,” Russell added.  
The online platform, built in partnership with Athlete Network, LLC., is free to join for any current and former college tennis players at the NCAA Division I, II, III, Junior College and NAIA levels, and provides the following benefits:
Networking feed that allows alumni to connect with fellow alumni in their area
Alumni events (to date, events have been held in Seattle, Chicago, New York and Milwaukee)
Job board with full-time employment and internship opportunities
Current college tennis news
Mentorship program that connects current players and recent graduates with experienced professional is their chosen field of study
To join, current student-athletes and alumni can visit . The first collegiate program that signs up 50 alumni members will receive a $500 grant from the ITA.



TENNIS INDUSTRY: 8th Annual National Wounded Warrior Tennis Camp May 6-9

SAN DIEGO (May 1, 2019) – The eighth annual National Wounded Warrior Tennis Camp will take place May 6-9, 2019 at the Balboa Tennis Club located at 2221 Morley Field Dr, San Diego, CA 92104.

Over 50 wounded, ill, and injured service members and military veterans from across the country will participate in the Tennis Camp, which is being hosted by the San Diego District Tennis Association (SDDTA), in collaboration with the United States Tennis Association, Naval Medical Center San Diego, and the Balboa Tennis Club.

The camp, which will offer on-court sessions from 10 a.m. to Noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. each day except Tuesday afternoon, will focus on helping participants improve their tennis skills through game-based clinics and instruction in an upbeat, fun-filled atmosphere.  The camp also provides emotional benefits and helps with community re-integration.  (There will be no on-court tennis session on Tuesday afternoon in order to give campers an opportunity for rest and relaxation.)

On Monday, May 6, the camp will get underway with its traditional Welcome Greeting, which is scheduled to take place in between 9:15 – 10:45 a.m. Staff and volunteers will personally greet and welcome each service member and military veteran as they arrive on a chartered bus at the Balboa Tennis Club to attend Opening Day of the camp.

"Every year we are amazed at how this event has helped inspire these special service members and military veterans. It truly makes a difference in their lives,” said Steve Kappes, Director of Military Outreach for the SDDTA. “This camp would not be possible without the donations and the support of we receive from many local, regional, and national organizations."

To view a local news report on a past National Wounded Warrior Tennis Camp, please click here.

For more information on the eighth annual National Wounded Warrior Tennis Camp, go to: and

The camp will be led by Balboa Tennis Club’s Tennis Director, Geoff Griffin, a USPTA-certified teaching professional for over 30 years, and other professional tennis instructors from the club. All have been involved in the club’s Wounded Warrior Tennis Program since its inception in 2009. Support staff from
Naval Medical Center San Diego will assist, along with trained volunteers from the tennis community.

About the Wounded Warrior Tennis Program – Since 2009, the Balboa Tennis Club, in collaboration with Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) and the San Diego District Tennis Association, has provided over 400 free weekly tennis clinics to more than 1000 wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans from all the military services as part of NMCSD’s Wounded, Ill, and Injured Wellness Division, and the San Diego VA Medical Center’s Recreational Therapy Department.

These military tennis clinics and tennis camps have been recognized for their excellence and impact by Congressional and local representatives, senior officials from the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and the leadership of the United States Tennis Association. They have become the model for similar tennis programs for wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans that have been established at other major military medical centers, Warrior Transition Units, and VA hospitals across the country.

The Wounded Warrior Tennis Program has made a positive impact in the lives of wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans. Therapeutically, tennis has helped them work on eye-hand coordination, balance, ability to transfer weight, endurance, strength, and overall fitness. In addition to the physical benefits, tennis enables them to learn a new sport, promotes socialization, decreases stress and anxiety, and helps with re-integration into the community.



TENNIS INDUSTRY: ITA Announces Seven New Members to Board of Directors

TEMPE, Ariz. (April 24) – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), the not-for-profit governing body of college tennis, welcomes seven new members to its Board of Directors, ITA Chief Executive Officer Timothy Russell announced.

Joining the 19-person board are Shaheen Ladhani (Goldman, Sachs & Co. Investment Advisor), Danielle Lund McNamara (Yale Head Women’s Tennis Coach), Ann Lebedeff (Professor of Physical Education and Athletics at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges), Roland Thornqvist (University of Florida Head Women’s Tennis Coach), Dr. Tommy Valentini (Gustavus Adolphus Head Men’s Tennis Coach), Billy Pate (Princeton University Head Men’s Tennis Coach) and Judy Van Horn (University of South Carolina Executive Associate Athletics Director for Sport and Risk Management.

Created to support the ITA and college tennis, the Board of Directors is chaired by Jon Vegosen, a founding member of the Chicago corporate and litigation law firm Funkhouser Vergosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd. Russell, as the Association’s president and chief executive officer, also serves on the board.

“I am appreciative that our sport and Association have such a committed group of individuals who are giving of their time to work collaboratively on behalf of our coaches, programs and student-athletes,” Russell said. “At the same, I am excited and thankful to our new members who share the same passion for college tennis and possess the desire to help grow our sport.

“A special thank you must be given to Jon Vegosen for his tremendous leadership and to our dedicated executive committee,” Russell added. “I am confident that our Board will continue to serve in the best interests of the ITA and with a vision and purpose to attend to the big-picture needs of the ITA that will insure a bright future for college tennis and tennis in our country.”

Added Vegosen: “I want to thank all those who have served on the Board with distinction and purpose for the betterment of the Association and college tennis. We appreciate their dedication, excellent ideas, guidance and contributions. It has been an honor to work with each of them. I look forward to welcoming a talented group of new individuals who will work together with our outstanding staff, skillfully led by Tim Russell, to carry out and enrich the mission and objectives of the ITA while enhancing college tennis.”

The new term will begin July 1, 2019.