RSI Shares News of Champions of Tennis

21 Dec, 2020

Michael Dowse, the CEO and executive director of the U.S. Tennis Association, has been named “Person of the Year” for 2020 by Racquet Sports Industry magazine in the publication’s January 2021 issue. Dowse led off the magazine’s 20th annual “Champions of Tennis Awards,” which honor people, businesses and organizations dedicated to improving the sport and business of tennis.

Shortly after starting his job with the USTA a year ago, after working for Wilson Sporting Goods and other sports manufacturers, Dowse was immediately immersed in dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as 90 percent of tennis facilities were forced to close and 90 percent of tennis pros were unable to work. Dowse, though, acted quickly to help bring the industry together.

“He spearheaded the formation of ‘Tennis Industry United’ to make sure key groups were coordinated and communicating with each other,” says Racquet Sports Industry Editor Peter Francesconi, “and, among other initiatives, he helped secure USTA funds for facilities and teaching pros to weather the downturn in business, focusing on ‘relief, recover and rebuild.’”

With all of this going on, Dowse also initiated a major transformation of the USTA from a program-based organization to one focused on service, looking to promote and grow the sport of tennis as a whole.

The most visible achievement, though, may well be the US Open, the largest professional tennis tournament in the world. “As the pandemic started to accelerate last spring and summer, Dowse and the USTA took a measured approach that led to a successful, and safe, 2020 US Open—and the result was a major win for tennis and for tennis fans,” Francesconi says.

“Mike Dowse has a solid history in this sport, from competitive player, to stringing racquets through college, to working as a sales rep and major tennis equipment manufacturer executive,” Francesconi adds. “He clearly brings this ‘tennis DNA’ to this job, and his dedication, passion and effectiveness have earned him RSI’s 2020 Person of the Year Award.”

In addition to its Person of the Year, Racquet Sports Industry also named winners in 24 other categories for its 2020 Champions of Tennis Awards (see the January 2021 Racquet Sports Industry digital edition at www.tennisindustrymag.comfor more on these winners):

* Municipal Tennis Facility of the Year: Richland Tennis Center, Richland Hills, Texas

* Tennis Industry Service Award: Alex Levitsky, Fair Haven, N.J.

* Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year: Mason’s Tennis, New York, N.Y.

* Private/Commercial Facility of the Year: Miller Tennis Center, Williamsville, N.Y.

* Builder/Contractor of the Year: Cape and Island Tennis & Track, Pocasset, Mass.

* Grassroots Tennis Champion of the Year: Dee Henry, La Mirada, Calif.

* Community Tennis Association of the Year: Asheville Tennis Association, N.C.

* Tennis Sales Representative of the Year: Chris Allen, Putterman Athletics, Chicago, Ill.

* Adaptive Tennis Champion of the Year: Marcy Hirshberg, Alpharetta, Ga.

* Stringer of the Year: John Brekken, Hopkins, Minn.

* Public Park of the Year: Clifton Park, Baltimore, Md.

* Junior Tennis Champion of the Year: Tracy Lawson, Tempe, Ariz.

* Wheelchair Tennis Champions of the Year: Hilary Muehlberger, Greenwood, Mo.

* High School Coach of the Year: Karen Ronney, San Diego, Calif.

* Tennis Advocate of the Year: Jim Winters, Lemon Grove, Calif.

* Park & Rec Agency of the Year: City of Orlando (Fla.) Families, Park & Rec

* Youth Tennis Provider of the Year: Kendra Becker, Norwalk, Conn.

* National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Chapter of the Year: InnerCity Tennis, Minneapolis, Minn.

* Mass Merchant/Chain Store of the Year: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Pittsburgh, Pa.

* Adult Tennis Provider of the Year: Guillermo “Bill” Lucero, Surprise, Ariz.

* Innovative Tennis Event of the Year: 2020 US Open, New York, N.Y.

* Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Member of the Year: John Borden, Germantown, Md.

* U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Member of the Year: Jenny Gray, Austin, Texas

* U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Section of the Year: USTA Southern, Atlanta, Ga.

Racquet Sports Industry (formerlyTennis Industry), the largest racquet sports trade magazine in the world,has been covering the tennis business and the sport for 49 years. Available in both print and digital editions, RSI is the official publication of the Tennis Industry Association, U.S. Racquet Stringers Association and American Sports Builders Association. Visit


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