President’s Letter (July 2018)
We on the Board would like to thank all of you who have joined us in the past six months! We now have more than 500 members, and growing. We’d like especially to thank those of you who have joined NSMTA as Founding Members. Enrollment in that category was originally slated to close at the end of June, but it has been suggested that we leave it open until the end of the year, or 100 Founders, whichever comes first.
We as a Board are slowly finding our balance, deciding what projects we should focus on, and which we should table for the time being. We have gotten some valuable feedback and suggestions from you, our members, about what would be the most productive ways to direct our efforts. Keep them coming! Already we were able to get a Cat III sanction from the USTA for an experimental round robin doubles format that was extremely well received in Florida. The next step is to format the points awarded in such events to be compatible with the USTA ranking system.
We recently worked in concert with the National Senior Women’s Association to provide the International Tennis Federation representative for the US (Carol Clay) with suggestions for changes in the ITF policies regarding tournaments in the US. By making joint proposals, our two organizations working together had more traction than either one separately.
Our website so far has been too static with not enough fresh input. We aim to change that so that eventually the site becomes your go-to place for tournament info (including features like what hotels are available at various tournament sites), articles on fitness and training, tennis tales, and more. We’ve got potential, don’t you think? We have several members who have volunteered to write stuff periodically, and which will be appearing right here in the near future. Tell us what you like and don’t like.
Our Board has just approved some financial support for several tournaments both upcoming this year and into early 2019 that attract significant numbers of senior players on both the east and west coasts. Our intention overall is quite simply to help improve the quality of men’s senior competitive tennis. The NSMTA will inaugurate a couple of new doubles events which will feature perpetual trophies in each age group in January, 2019.
Already we feel that we are building trust with the USTA. USTA staff have actually asked us for feedback on a couple issues! In response to suggestions from two of our board members who sit on the USTA Adult Competition Committee, the ranking point system is currently being revisited, and a Tournament Director’s Handbook is in the works that will help TD’s run better tournaments. To hold TD’s feet to the fire a bit, we will implement a way on this website for you to help evaluate certain tournaments that you play.
Another upcoming feature of the website is a “Marketplace” section where buyers and sellers of tennis-related items can be brought together. We as yet have no idea whether it will be well utilized or not, so let us know if you have any suggestions.
Much of our traction with the powers-that-be in senior tennis decision-making will be dependent on whether the NSMTA is perceived as a representative voice of active players. One of our members suggested that we ask each of you to round up two of your tennis playing buddies, and get them to join. So, I’m asking…… Together, all of us can ensure that senior tournament tennis does not die a neglectful death!
Welcome to our NSMTA Website (January 2018)
The members of the Board of Directors of our newly formed National Senior Men’s Tennis Association are happy you’ve found us! Our aim is simply to promote senior men’s competitive tennis. We have great ambitions for this website and our association, and in fact will be looking to you, our members, to help provide ideas and suggestions regarding the kind of content and activities that you would consider valuable. Maybe we can even recruit you to provide some of the content itself! Are you a writer, photographer, blogger, etc. who would be interested in contributing your talents to making our website even better?
Our fledgling organization has roots which go back much further than ours as we have been inspired by what the senior women have been able to achieve since the founding of their organization (the NSWTA) back in 1977. They have been urging us to get off our male butts and get organized, so that between the two organizations, we can better represent the voices of senior competitive tennis in the US. Some of you may be familiar with Super Senior Tennis (SST), which was founded shortly after WWII to promote tennis for players over 55. John Powless, the true dean of men’s senior tennis, has ably carried that banner for many years. We have also been inspired by the insightful work of individuals like Carolyn Nichols and Alan Messer who have almost single-handedly developed websites devoted to our game. No account of our beginnings would be complete without mentioning Steve Solomon, who has advocated for senior tennis in a myriad of creative ways for many years, and in many capacities. And bloggers like George Wachtel have been of immense help in getting us started.
We are inviting players in age groups all the way from 35 & over to the “Wimbledon-in-the-Sky” (Hey, Gardnar Mulloy made it to age 103, and he played to almost 100!) to join us. As we go forward, we will be looking for two additional Board members who can represent some of the younger age divisions. If you’re interested, please let us know! We also ask that you let your tennis-playing friends know about us and urge them to join as well. It’s important that we get as many players as possible to join, because the more members we have, the more weight our suggestions to the USTA on behalf of senior players will carry. (Two of our NSMTA Board Members, Mas Kimball and Ed Trost, sit on the USTA Adult Competition Committee.)
Another feature of our website is an interactive forum where you can make comments and get feedback from your fellow members. Of course we will have tournament schedules and results, pictures, and articles. Maybe you’re interested in how you can keep that aging body of yours more flexible, free of injury, or just plain healthier. Maybe you’ve got questions about specific injuries. Possibly you’d enjoy a walk back in time, to revisit some events from 25 or more years ago. Maybe you’re looking for a discount from some of the companies that will come onboard as sponsors or you’d like to read stories about the interesting lives of some of our members. Maybe you’re looking for that perfect drill that will totally transform your game. (Well, there ain’t no such thang, but hopefully you get the idea that there’s a lot of potential here.) We are looking for your suggestions on articles and content.
Already we’re sponsoring a Cat3 in Florida with an innovative format that kicks off the familiar January Super Senior Grand Prix in Florida. Board Member Larry Turville is spearheading that event. We’re involved with the largest senior tournament in the U.S.– the Wilson Cat2 in Palm Springs also in January, run by NSMTA Board Member Ed Trost. We’ll always be looking for your feedback during and after tournaments so that we can refine the elements that make an event appealing.
So thanks for joining us in this ambitious endeavor – we’re looking forward to the good things that will come out of it!
BOARD OF DIRECTORS