Lisa Stone is the founder of ParentingAces, an invaluable resource for parents to help guide them (and their children!) through the complex world of junior tennis here in the US. When she’s not writing, you’ll find Lisa at the tennis court, either as a player, fan or an organizer. Lisa is passionate about college tennis and runs events throughout the year, including the Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In Tournament which takes place in Atlanta (July 21 & 22) and Baltimore (August 11 & 12). How did your passion for tennis start and how did you get involved with the community? I’ve been playing and watching tennis as long as I can remember. My dad played on the National Championship team at Tulane University, and he made sure all three of his kids learned how to play the game he loves. I was never a very good junior player, sticking mainly in my home state (Louisiana), but I’ve become much more competitive as an adult. Like my father, I made sure all three of my children took tennis lessons in their formative years. Only one, my youngest, took to the sport. As his interest and passion grew, so did mine. When he started high school and college tennis became more of a reality, I started ParentingAces (www.parentingaces.com) to share our experience with other inquisitive Tennis Parents. And you’re also running events! Do you have any upcoming ones that our players can sign up for? The Sol Schwartz #SaveCollegeTennis All-In Tournament presented by Holabird Sports is in its third year. Sol was a dear friend of mine who passed away suddenly in 2016. To honor him and his commitment to saving college tennis, a small group of us decided to put on a tournament that embodied all that Sol loved about tennis. We started with one tournament in Sol’s hometown of Baltimore then expanded to my community in Atlanta in Year Two. Our event is unique in several ways. First of all, we use the proceeds to provide grants to college tennis programs at risk of being cut. Secondly, we allow coaching at the side changes. Thirdly, we are 100% sponsor driven so that we can provide incredible prizes and benefits to our players such as a Wilson Prize Package to the overall winner, player goody bags worth over $100, and lunch each day for players and their families. We are committed to keeping the entry fee affordable (it’s currently $35) so anyone who wants to play can do so. We pride ourselves on providing a great player experience by trusting participants to abide by the rules of good sportsmanship. We have no officials on site nor have we needed them. Our players understand that Sol Schwartz stood for all that is good about our sport and are driven to live up to his expectations. Sol was also a believer in giving back, so we invite current and past professional players to get involved. Noah Rubin and Melanie Oudin are two players who have accepted our invitation to interact with our participants, answering their questions and signing autographs. To sign up for our Atlanta event, go to https://myutr.com/events/101. To sign up for our Baltimore event, go to https://myutr.com/events/102. How can the UTR community support? There are several ways to get involved! First of all, sign up to play! Secondly, sponsor the tournament either financially or through in-kind donations. Thirdly, make a donation to our Grant Fund by contacting me at email@example.com. Lastly, share the tournament links with your tennis-playing friends and family. What are you most excited about with UTR and what is your favorite UTR Real Story you’ve seen? I love the whole concept of level-based play. I think it is a key component of growing tennis in the US and around the world. My favorite UTR Real Story has to be the one with Ella Croteau. Ella’s mom, Holly, is a long-time member of the ParentingAces community, so it was really fun to see her featured! I also enjoyed the pieces on Barry Fulcher and Sarah Borwell, both of whom I’ve interviewed for the ParentingAces Podcast. Why are you running UTR Events? What do you think are the benefits to players and organizers? We started TheSol as a UTR event because we felt it was the best way to include all the features Sol would’ve wanted to see in a tournament. It allowed us the flexibility to guarantee a minimum of 3 matches to our players and to use a variety of draw structures based on the UTR range of our entrants. Plus, because TheSol is unsanctioned by USTA, we can do things like add mixed doubles at the last minute or avoid having officials. We love hearing from you! We receive inspiring notes from players, coaches, parents and event organizers telling us how UTR has positively impacted their game. In our new series, we’ll share their stories with you and highlight the work they’re doing on and off the court. Tell us how you use UTR! You can send us an email, or share your story with @MyUTR and #MakeTennisBetter.