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USTA Georgia
116 Marble Mill Road
Marietta, GA 30060
Tax ID 58-1309245

Southerners Recognized as Champions of Tennis

January 7, 2019 05:31 PM

Tennis Industry magazine has awarded its 2018 Champions of Tennis. Four of the awards went to four from USTA Southern. Below are four articles from the January 2019 edition of Tennis Industry magazine.

In photo above: top left, Burns Park's indoor facility; bottom left, kids learn on a Roswell, Ga., park; center: player raises the cup of the Louisville Drop Shots Tennis League and the first women to win the Stringer of the Year, Diane Hamm-Vida.

Drop Shots Tennis League

With Drop Shots Tennis, fun is the name of the game—on and o­ the court. The Kentucky social league is designed for ages 21 to 40, and players enjoy grabbing a beer and a bite after the match as much as the on-court competition. In 2015, Drop Shots was launched in Louisville and Paducah by Bryan Hash, USTA Kentucky’s manager of competitive and recreational tennis. The league started with 102 players but has now expanded to five cities across the state, with a total of more than 900 participants. Just as importantly, it’s bringing lapsed players back to tennis. For all of these reasons, and more, Drop Shots is Tennis Industry's Adult Tennis Provider of the Year. “I love the low-pressure atmosphere, the friendly people, and the chance to hang out afterwards,” says Erin Staley of Louisville. —Kim Lonnemann

City of Roswell, Ga.

In 2017, Roswell Park & Rec won the NRPA’s Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation Management. “We’re very excited about this distinction,” says Scott Laakso, the city’s athletic coordinator. Laakso, who has a degree in recreation administration and a masters in sports administration, deals with all sports for the city, but his heart, and much of his experience, is in tennis. And that dedication to the sport is why Roswell Park & Rec is TI’s 2018 Park & Rec Agency of the Year. A dedicated USTA volunteer at all levels, Laakso became Roswell’s tennis supervisor in 2002 and moved to his current position in 2017. In that time, he has created an award-winning tennis program that operates on 28 city courts at five locations, the largest being the 12-court Roswell Area Park. All courts have blended lines for youth and beginner play. Under current Tennis Supervisor Witton Carlisle, “We offer a ton of programming, especially for kids,” Laakso says. “I have the best staff and best job in the entire city.” “Roswell has been a pilot and an example for many CTAs and parks across the country,” says Todd Carlson of the USTA national staff. —Peter Francesconi

Burns Park, North Little Rock, Ark.

Look at an aerial view of North Little Rock, Ark., and an expanse of green catches your eye. Burns Park contains a host of facilities—golf, soccer fields, baseball diamonds and, of course, tennis. The Burns Park Tennis Center is operated by USTA Arkansas in conjunction with the North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department. The sprawling facility boasts 24 full-size outdoor courts, 12 36-foot courts and six full-size indoor courts that are booked throughout the year. There also is a pro shop, tournament building and the Arkansas Tennis Hall of Fame. For 2018, Burns Park is Tennis Industry's Public Park of the Year. Burns Park has hosted the last two USTA Southern Mixed Doubles Sectional Championships, drawing more than 1,200 players each. Many USTA League championships, junior tournaments and recreational leagues are also played at Burns. USTA Arkansas Executive Director Deanna Garretson says the facility is a boon for local play. “All the activities in the 1,700-acre park help draw people to tennis who might not otherwise even see tennis courts,” she explains. —Ron Cio­ffi

Diane Hamm-Vida

“It all starts with asking the client, ‘Is your racquet match-ready?’” says Diane Hamm-Vida, owner of D & D Tennis in Shallotte, N.C. Hamm-Vida operates a full-service company that stresses matching the best string and racquet technologies to optimize players’ on-court performance. A USRSA member for more than 13 years, Hamm-Vida became a Master Racquet Technician nine years ago, an instructor five years ago, and for the last two years has been a USRSA Certification Tester, encouraging people to join this industry and to continue to expand their knowledge. And for 2018, she also is Tennis Industry’s choice for Stringer of the Year. “Diane is dedicated to her craft and the epitome of a professional racquet technician,” says Bob Patterson, executive director of the USRSA. “She continues to learn and is passionate about teaching others.” —Nate Pagel