2020: Clear Eyes on a Bright Future

Feisal Hassan, USPTA President

It is with great excitement that I write my first column as USPTA President. What an opportunity – for me, for you, for us. Welcome to 2020!

First, I’d like to thank my predecessor, Mr. Gary Trost, not just for all he’s done for the Association these past few years, but for all the guidance he’s offered me as I begin this next chapter in my service to the USPTA. And thank you to the previous Board of Directors, who helped shape my perspective on USPTA affairs.

I am pleased to tell you our Association is doing great. We are on strong financial footing. We’ve increased both the quality and quantity of our testing, which has helped increase our membership by 1,000 tennis professionals in the last calendar year. We’ve also increased membership reinstatements, which brings me to my next point.

As you all know, or at least you should, the three-year continuing education cycle has just ended. But we’ve decided to offer a grace period of six months to complete the continuing education requirement. That means you have until the end of June before your membership will be suspended, so make sure you #GetYour6!

As we work to execute our mission to elevate the standards of tennis-teaching professionals, we also want to elevate the standards of the education they’re receiving, both through the education itself and the way it’s presented. For the past year, the USPTA Education Department been working very closely with the USTA-U team to make getting your six a more rewarding experience, so look out for those new modules on our new USPTA-U website in the very near future.

Speaking of the future, mark your calendars! We’ll be at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside for the 2020 World Conference from Sept. 20-24. This event is unbelievable every year. We were in the Big Easy in 2015 and it was fantastic – the best conference to that point, in fact. The 2019 World Conference in Las Vegas eclipsed New Orleans from four years ago, though, so I can’t wait to see what the National Staff has in store for us in nine short months!

Now, it’s time to get down to business. I’m happy to report that our national committees and task forces are being selected as we speak. They’re operating in a completely new structure that I feel will streamline their effectiveness and cultivate new ideas while retaining valued previous contributions. I’ve already selected the chairperson for each committee and task force and I look forward to seeing what they produce. Thank you to all who applied to serve as a volunteer; you made the decisions very difficult.

Our new Board of Directors will meet for the first time at the World Headquarters at the beginning of January. I’m really looking forward to working with each of them as we tackle 2020 and prepare for a huge year in 2021.

In 2020, we enter our second year of full accreditation. Earning this distinction was a huge accomplishment of Gary, John and the rest of the board, but now it’s up to us to carry the torch forward and implement the requirements that come with full accreditation.

It’s been almost 30 years since I first joined the USPTA; I cannot tell you how humbled I am to become its President. I am prepared to take on this responsibility, but I cannot carry this weight alone. As a member of the USPTA, you also have a duty to live out our shared mission to elevate the standards of our profession. We must continue to do this every day.

This is such an exciting time in the history of our Association. And so it is with clear eyes on the future that we take on 2020 and beyond.

Hassan was a featured speaker at the 2019 World Conference in Las Vegas.