Four Courts, Create Community

Community. It isn’t just a word in the name of Rappahannock Community College (RCC). It literally and figuratively is the center and central focus for this higher education institution in the rural area of Warsaw, Va. 

Founded in 1970, Rappahannock Community College [RCC] is more than just a school, it is a beacon for community vitality always at the ready to spur growth and continually meet the needs of the people, businesses, and industries in the areas they serve. RCC especially values being a catalyst and partner for opportunities to improve and revitalize the local area so that not only their students benefit, the community benefits as well. 

One such benefit to the community is the four tennis courts prominently located on the RCC campus, open and available for all to use. 

Although the community college does not have a designated tennis team, the tennis courts have been a fixture in the area and a place where you could always find an activity, meet up with a neighbor, and just have some fun. They are the only public tennis courts for the rural and economically challenged counties of Richmond, Westmoreland, Essex, and Northumberland with a collective population of just under 50,000.

“It was well-known that all were welcome on the courts and in-turn the courts were respected – people knew to turn the lights on, they turned them off and just fully enjoyed the space,” shared Dr. Shannon Kennedy, President of the Rappahannock Community College since 2019. 

Though having open access to the courts was an amazing opportunity for the community to play tennis and gain the benefits of the sport, the courts were coming to a point where they were worn down and in serious need of repair. In addition, there were two courts that were deemed completely off limits due to safety concerns. It was time to rebuild. 

Revitalizing the tennis courts fit into a larger vision for the economic redevelopment of downtown Warsaw. RCC and their partners recognized that updated tennis courts would offer a multi-generational gathering place and give people the opportunity for healthy living and community engagement. All people – retirees, youth, students and all in between – would have an improved and open place for tennis and daily activity. These tennis courts would also become the new home for the Rappahannock High School Tennis Teams.   

Many stakeholders got involved and championed the project. 

“I believe in working closely with the local school system, other higher education institutions, and industries in order to create and grow programs,” said Kennedy. “The best way possible to do something like this is to keep it as economically feasible for all partners. We want to show a collaborative spirit.

The collaborative spirit proved itself with the stakeholders, including RCC, pooling resources for the project. Everyone agreed that the tennis courts should be refurbished to the highest standards and done in a way that would preserve the maintenance of the courts long-term. 

But funding ran short.  That’s when the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Court Refurbishment Grant created an additional pathway for RCC and their partners to push forward and finalize the project. 

With a grant for $10,000, they were able to use higher-quality materials, install a better surface and elevate the project to a new level, which ultimately could see big returns for the school and the community. In fact, some of the returns have started already.   

This past spring, the Rappahannock High School Girls Tennis team hosted District Championships on the new courts during which they came out victorious and made a run at the state championships. 

Kennedy shared that the new tennis courts are very active with people playing as early as 6 a.m. All-day long, individuals are soaking in the newness of the refurbished tennis courts, which were officially reopened in July. 

“Every time I pass by the courts, people are there – they are in constant use,” says Kennedy. “Our courts are bringing the community together, creating comradery, and instilling a sense of pride. They came at a good time.”

Moving forward, Richmond County is managing the use of the courts and implementing a variety of tennis programs, camps, and classes. There will even be an educational program for community college students interested in pursuing a career teaching physical education.   

“Tennis brings a lot of families and people together,” said Kennedy. “We’re hoping to have tournaments and bring people from outside the community to our courts. This is good for the college, the economy, and the community. The tennis courts are worth the investment and are looking at years of enjoyment to come.”  

Having four newly refurbished tennis courts open and available for public use has delivered on a promise to infuse vibrancy and spur community revitalization. With your support, the USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis court refurbishment grant helped bring the courts and community to life. 

Make a gift to support our ongoing work helping more communities build and rebuild tennis courts, especially in under-resourced communities, so that more people can easily access the sport and all the benefits it provides. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn more about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Tennis Grants Improve the Community

It Doesn’t Take Long to Feel the Benefits

“Fun, friendly, cool.” These are the three words 11-year-old Deoz uses to describe tennis – a sport he recently came to fall in love with. After playing lots of other sports, Deoz discovered tennis on his own. He decided to try tennis after school because – in his words – it was just fun. 

“When I first started [tennis], I liked it right away,” said Deoz. “I had to run a lot and that was fun. And the drills and exercises came quickly to me.” 

It doesn't take long to feel the benefits of tennis

When his mom noticed how much Deoz was interested in the sport she decided to get more information about it so that she could help him keep pursuing his interest. It was a fateful conversation at the hair salon that gave her all the information she needed. Another patron told her about the different opportunities available for youth tennis and about local tennis programs offered by the Park and Recreation Department near where they lived in Prince George’s County, Md. She and Deoz decided to check the programs out. 

“I was just wowed by the programs,” said Deoz’s mom. “I had never seen tennis programs to the level they were being offered – camps, individual coaching, team tennis. It was overwhelming at first but then the coach really helped to make it easy to get Deoz going.” 

Soon after a few introductory lessons, Deoz’s tennis skills were progressing and he was able to start playing with other kids, getting more competitive and comfortable. Not only that, Deoz and his mom were impressed by the community surrounding tennis, noticeable by the variety of ages and people that play, courts always in use, and caring people and coaches that paid as much attention to what was happening off the court in Deoz’s life as what was happening on the court. 

They also started to notice the many character-building skills and benefits developing within. 

“I had to do a lot of running drills and that was fun because it got my speed up to race with my friends,” Deoz shared. “Tennis also helped with my focus – you have to focus and know what you are doing in the game. It helped with school and other activities.” 

But the most important lessons he was learning on the court were life-lessons he fully embraced off the court. 

“The biggest lesson I am learning from tennis is to always be fair. You learn to call the ball in or out and that being fair is most important, even in close matches,” he shared. 

As the character-building benefits from tennis just started to shine for Deoz, the unimaginable happened. A pandemic and job loss for Deoz’s mom. She didn’t want this temporary situation to be a concern and impact his ability to continue to play tennis. Deoz’s tennis coach offered a suggestion – apply for a USTA Mid-Atlantic Junior Player Scholarship. 

“It was easy to apply for the scholarship and it was so helpful,” she commented. “I wanted to make sure that I could keep Deoz in tennis and that he had something to do.” 

Thanks to generous gifts from the USTA Mid-Atlantic community, scholarships for youth players at any level of the game – even those new to the sport like Deoz – are available. Scholarships help with the cost to take lessons and help nurture the benefits the sport provides. Deoz used the scholarship to keep up with tennis and continue in the classes he was taking and now is shaping his character and future in the sport as well. 

When asked what he would say to those that donate to USTA Mid-Atlantic and support programs such as the Junior Player Scholarship he said: 

“THANK YOU for giving to kids in need. There are a lot of kids in need of scholarships, just like me, that your donations help. Donating helps kids learn tennis, and also learn leadership skills, strategies in thinking, building confidence, and overall development.”

And when asked what he would tell other kids like him about tennis and trying the sport: 

“Definitely try it out! If you are interested, tell someone that tennis is something you want to do – you never know where it will take you until you try it!” 

Can you give a gift to support young players and those children interested in tennis, just like Deoz? Your gift can help children discover something new and gain the character-building benefits only tennis can provide.

Give a gift or join the Serve Squad today!  

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn more about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Dream Season for 2.5 Team of Beginners

Well-being thanks to tennis was a key to success

Lifting the gate latch, Kristy walked onto the tennis court in Richmond, Va., for her very first USTA Mid-Atlantic League match. Never in her 40 years would she have expected to have arrived here. Her heart pounded with every step she took as she walked over to greet her doubles partner and opponents. She was so nervous and unsure what to expect. She had put the work in but did not know if it would pay off on her newly forged path as a 2.5 beginner league player. 

Kristy gave tennis a try because her young son decided he wanted to play and began learning the sport. 

“My 5-year-old son decided he wanted to try tennis and ended up loving it,” Kristy said.  “Seeing him enjoy the sport made me think it would be something fun for us to do together as he gets older.” 

Well-being thanks to tennis was a key to success on the court for this 2.5 team

She too began introductory lessons and made pretty good progress in her beginner’s group.  Soon after, Kristy was asked to join a 2.5 USTA League team in 2020. All of the women on the team were in the same boat, starting and learning the sport in their late 30s just like Kristy, and never playing in USTA League before. 

“I don’t know of any other sport that you can pick up later in life and pretty much play until you are well into your senior years. I truly feel like anyone can pick up a racquet and learn to play,” shared Kristy. 

The team was composed of people from all walks of life: doctors, lawyers, scientists, business owners, stay-at-home moms, all coming together and being put to the test during that fateful first USTA Mid-Atlantic League tennis match. 

Kristy won it decisively 6-1, 6-2 and remembers thinking to herself, “maybe I’ve got the hang of this now!” Her teammates thought similar thoughts having taken all three lines that day. 

But the dream season would have to wait – the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans and the season was cut short. 

“During the COVID shutdown, the outdoor courts at my club remained open and it seemed to be the one thing from ‘normal life’ I was able to keep doing,” expressed Kristy.

Tennis was becoming so much more of an important aspect of life for her than she could have imagined when she started her league tennis journey just a year prior. The well-being benefits of the sport emerged front and center, including social and emotional benefits. 

“As much as I love tennis, the social element has been one of my favorite benefits,” says Seredni. “Playing tennis, I have met so many exceptional ladies who I am now lucky to call friends. Tennis has been the thing when you are having a rough day or week, you can always look forward to… I honestly can’t imagine my life now without tennis.”

Even though the 2020 season was short, Kristy and her team had 2021 in sight. 

Kristy commented, “we really started off as a group of strangers who very quickly became a tight-knit group of competitors. We were all so driven and excited and couldn’t wait to see what we could do. Our chemistry on the courts was off the charts and when we were off the courts we were celebrating births of babies, pregnancies, job promotions, really just supporting each other in life which I think was a huge part of why we were so successful.” 

Tennis in the Mid-Atlantic Section brought them together and delivered on well-being benefits and connections on a deeper, social and emotional level.  

Well-being was key to tennis success for this 2.5 USTA Mid-Atlantic league team.

“Something just clicked,” Kristy recounted. “We all seemingly hit our stride at the same time going the entire 2021 League season never dropping a line.” 

This remarkable outcome for the FIRST full season of tennis for the team paved the way for a trip to USTA Mid-Atlantic Sectionals and all the way to the Championship match!  

Kristy’s team was crowned 2.5 Finalists in Mid-Atlantic for the Adult 18 & Over (.5) in 2021. A dream accomplishment many seasoned teams aspire to achieve. 

Thanks to USTA Mid-Atlantic tennis creating a deeper well-being in Kirsty and in her teammates’ lives, they succeeded more than they could have imagined. 

“This past year, really throwing myself into USTA tennis, has been so incredibly rewarding.  From success on the court to meeting new people and making new friends, I have really enjoyed every minute on the courts…Whether you are looking to play for fun or looking for a competitive league, I promise you there is a league for you. And for people thinking about donating, do it!  Watching juniors learn the sport and love playing it is so much fun!  There are so many things for these kids to learn on a tennis court that will translate to life skills.” 

No matter when you start or your level of experience with the game, you can gain the well-being benefits tennis provides. And with YOUR help we can make sure more people, especially those without access to tennis, experience the incredible benefits of the sport through a variety of tennis programs and services from the USTA Mid-Atlantic. 

Make a tax-deductible gift today to support tennis programs in the Mid-Atlantic region that create community, character, and well-being for all. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn more about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, Inc. is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; EIN 54-1472806. All donations made to USTA Mid-Atlantic Section Inc. are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

NTRP Year-end Ratings: What You Need to Know

When the USTA League championship year ends, tennis players everywhere eagerly await the most highly anticipated time of the year – the moment year-end ratings are published! This is when you’ll know if your NTRP rating stays the same or is adjusted and that can mean a lot for planning your next tennis season.  

Tennis partners playing on court

After pausing Year-End ratings in 2020, we know this year is as important as ever for our tennis players, and having helpful information to understand ratings is essential.

Adult NTRP ratings are used in leagues and tournaments to group players of similar skill levels; for general information on the rating system, click here.

How are NTRP Year-End ratings calculated?

A Year-End Rating, also known as a Computer Rating, is generated for every player who plays at least three valid matches in either a qualifying USTA League or NTRP Tournaments. USTA Flex Leagues and Flexible Format leagues do not count towards ratings.

When are Year-End ratings published?

They are published each December, at the conclusion of the league championship season. The exact date varies from year to year based on National Championship dates.

How is my dynamic rating calculated?

A player’s dynamic ratings, calculated after each match, are not solely contingent on record. They are calculated by an algorithm that considers your rating, your opponent’s rating, the expected outcome of the match, and the actual outcome of the match.

What is the difference between a dynamic rating and a year-end rating?

  • Dynamic ratings are not disclosed to players, whereas year-end ratings are published annually at NTRP levels.
  • Dynamic ratings are expressed to the one-hundredth of a point, whereas year-end ratings are expressed only to the one-half point.
  • Dynamic ratings are calculated nightly, whereas year end ratings are based on a combination of a player’s cumulative match results throughout the year.

Why did [insert USTA employee] decide to change my rating?

All NTRP ratings are generated by a computer using a very advanced algorithm. Whether your NTRP level increases, decreases or stays the same, that information was calculated by a computer using your match play results. 

My NTRP Year-End Rating has changed. How do I find a team at my new level?

We can help! USTA Mid-Atlantic offers Tennis Connect, a service that can match up players and captains. Simply click here, and we’ll help you find the right match for a team in your area.

Interested in being a Captain? You don’t have to wait around to find a team! You can form your own team by signing up to be a League Captain.  Complete this form and we’ll help get you set up and choose the team feature (Open, Closed, and Closed but Seeking) that’s best for you.

My NTRP was bumped up. I am nervous about playing at a new level and leaving my team. What’s next for me?

CONGRATULATIONS! You have worked hard to get to this point and should be proud of what you have accomplished! This is an opportunity for you to meet new people and take your tennis to the next level. Your next step is to find a team at your new rating. Simply click here, and we’ll help you find the right match for a team in your area. 

Miss your previous teammates? Don’t forget we offer a variety of combined rating leagues that will give you an opportunity to stay connected to your old crew. 

If you are not a USTA member and are interested in finding your place on the court with USTA Mid-Atlantic Leagues, click here and search for a league team in your area today. If you have any questions, please email tennisconnect@mas.usta.com.

My NTRP was bumped down and I am disappointed. Any advice?

Don’t worry about it. You can always play up and stick with your team or you can use Tennis Connect to find a new team. If you are looking for opportunities to improve, don’t forget to check out our Stroke of the Week videos for tips on improving your game or email community@mas.usta.com if you’re interested in connecting with a teaching professional in your area.

My teammate was bumped up and my rating didn’t change despite having a better record. Why?

Your Win/loss record does not directly affect the year-end calculation. Other factors include different dynamic start ratings (in hundredths) based on previous Year-End ratings and matches played against opponents with different dynamic ratings.

How do I appeal my rating?

As a Computer (C) rated player, the way to appeal your rating is online through TennisLink. When you click to appeal your rating, TennisLink checks to see if you are within the appeal range. You will receive an immediate response (Granted or Denied).  If your appeal is granted, TennisLink will automatically adjust your rating level. If your appeal is denied, you are not within appealable range and there are no further opportunities to appeal.

See below for more detailed instructions on how to appeal:

  • Log in to Tennislink and click the USTA League tab (across the top and to the left)
  • To the right of “Welcome!”, look for your NTRP Level
  • Under that, click “Appeal Rating Level”
  • Select Appeal rating level “Up or Down”
  • You will receive an immediate response at the top of the page

Things to know:

  • There is no appeal committee, thus no written letter of explanation. It’s all based on match data and numbers.
  • Appealing will NOT reveal your rating in the 100th of a point.
  • When an appeal has been granted, that player is eligible for dynamic disqualification

I see my ratings on other websites.  Are they the same as USTA?

The USTA posts the official NTRP ratings on your player profile on usta.com or on TennisLink, located at tennislink.usta.com. This is the only public website where official NTRP ratings authorized by the USTA are posted and can be obtained.

The USTA is aware of other sites that suggest they provide NTRP ratings or player statistics and skill analysis. Any alleged NTRP related information available on these other sites is not endorsed by the USTA, is not accurate, and cannot be relied upon.

I’ve been away from tennis for a while, how do I get a rating?

If you have never had an NTRP Rating or it’s been a few years since you’ve played USTA League, your first step will be to Self-Rate online through TennisLink.  

  • Log in to Tennislink
  • On “Welcome!” page under the USTA League tab
  • Look for “Find NTRP Rating Info”
  • Under that, click on the blue “Self-Rate” button 
  • A pop-up window will appear with the questionnaire
  • Based on your answers you will be assigned a minimum self-rating
  • You have the option to accept that rating, choose a higher rating, or request to appeal for a lower rating

I need more clarification, who can I reach out to regarding ratings? 

Adult league tennis players in the Mid-Atlantic Section can email the Adult Leagues Team. This is the best and fastest way to get an answer from a member of the Adult Team in regards to ratings. 

I have my NTRP rating and I am ready to play. What’s next? 

Tennis is always happening in the Mid-Atlantic! Check out our Adult Leagues calendar to see what’s playing next in your area or find a tournament to participate in. 

Hmmm, alright you’ve answered my questions. Got any fun facts to share?

Funny you should ask, we really do have fun facts about NTRP and year-end ratings!

  • You need three valid matches to generate a year-end rating
  • Your Computer rating does not change during the year. It stays the same until the next year-end.
  • On average, nearly 80 percent of Mid-Atlantic players will NOT have their rating change at year-end.
  • The highest rating on the NTRP scale is 7.0. Note: This does not mean two 3.5 players could go toe-to-toe with Rafael Nadal, but it sure would be entertaining to watch.
  • This year, because of the 2020 pause in ratings, your Computer rating will include your match results from both 2020 and 2021.

Don’t miss a thing in Mid-Atlantic tennis! Make sure to subscribe to USTA Mid-Atlantic’s YouTube Channel and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Plus, make sure to check out our Facebook page and celebrate 12 Days of Gifting with USTA Mid-Atlantic. Learn more by clicking here.

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

Plan for a Brighter Future of Tennis

So more players across the region have the opportunity to love the sport as much as you. 

What is your favorite part about playing tennis? 

This question is not as simple as it sounds. One may answer with “how much time do you have” because if someone gets you started on tennis they may need to cancel their afternoon plans. 

Tennis creates well-being, help grow tennis in the Mid-Atlantic today!

One thing that we can all agree on is that there are many reasons we get out on the court. Tennis is a lifetime sport that unlocks many benefits for you physically, socially and emotionally. Playing tennis in the Mid-Atlantic enables you to create friendships that will last a lifetime, gets you physically fit, and can help reduce stress

Your love for tennis is everlasting. Now you have a chance to leave an everlasting impact and plan for a future of tennis for others to enjoy and love the sport long after you are gone. You can help continue to spread the love of tennis and make the sport accessible for all by showing your support to USTA Mid-Atlantic through planned giving and other gift arrangements.

Plus, now is a great time to plan for and prepare to leave your impact on Mid-Atlantic tennis because it is Estate Planning Week.

Every year, Estate Planning Week is celebrated as a way to promote financial wellness among all communities. The purpose of estate planning is to develop a strategy that will maintain the financial security of individuals throughout their lifetime and ensure the intended transfer of their property and assets to intended individuals or organizations. 

During Estate Planning Week you can review your current plans to ensure they are aligned and reflect any updates you want to make, including ways to give back to tennis through USTA Mid-Atlantic. If you haven’t started planning, this is a week you can take steps to move forward in that work and get your estate plans established. Wherever you are in the process of Estate Planning, there are ways you can leave a legacy for tennis and show your support for the sport you love through: 

  • Planned Gifts: By including USTA Mid-Atlantic in your estate plans, you can continue to have an impact on our tennis community and leave a legacy of tennis for all to enjoy. Bequests are one of the simplest and most popular methods of gift planning.
  • Donor-Advised Fund (DAF): A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a charitable giving vehicle administered by a qualified public charity. Think of it as a philanthropic savings account. When you are ready, you can then recommend a grant to USTA Mid-Atlantic.
  • Gift of Stocks or Securities: Gifts of appreciated securities benefit USTA Mid-Atlantic while providing you with tangible tax benefits. Please consult your financial, tax, or legal advisor for more information.

Now that you have planned for a future of tennis, there are other ways to make an immediate impact beyond the net:

Help Grow Tennis in the Mid-Atlantic, give to tennis today.
  • Donate: Make a one-time gift or join THE SERVE SQUAD, with a recurring monthly donation online. Visit www.ustamasblog.com/donate for more information and ways to make your unrestricted gift to improve the region’s access to tennis’ unique health and social outcomes.
  • Make a tribute gift: You can make a donation in honor of someone whose love for tennis reached far beyond the court. Honor them by supporting the growth of tennis in the Mid-Atlantic so it can leave an equally powerful impact on the next generation of players. 
  • Match Your Gift: Employee matching gift programs are a great way to double or even triple your contribution to USTA Mid-Atlantic! Check with your human resources department to see if your employer has a matching gift program or use our Matching Gift Finder Tool.
  • Join the Creators Circle: Members of the Creators Circle are dedicated donors who provide gifts of $1,000 or more per year. These individuals receive personalized updates on the impact of their giving and invitations to engage in our virtual and in-person events.

Looking to get your company involved in supporting USTA Mid-Atlantic too?

Learn how to become a Net Positive Community Partner by contacting Catie Dugan Vargas, associate director of development at USTA Mid-Atlantic. Partners receive year-round virtual benefits and personalized assistance from our staff to meet their philanthropic goals.

As you can see, there are many ways to plan for a future of tennis and give back to USTA Mid-Atlantic and advance the sport you know and love. Give future generations of players the opportunity to experience their own love of tennis and ensure the sport can provide lasting benefits for years to come. Show your support today or by planning for the future. Together we can make tennis available for ALL. 

USTA Mid-Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Learn more about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.