Johnson County has seen more than its share of great tennis players through the years, with numerous high school state champions in singles and doubles coming from area schools.
There is 2011 Blue Valley North graduate Jack Sock, who immediately after graduating from high school joined the professional tour. He did not lose a match in high school in his four years at BV North. In the latest world ranking, Sock is No. 104.
But what about the youngsters who just want to learn and enjoy the game? The Kansas City Junior Tennis League is just for them.
The organization started in 1954, and this is the 60th season for the program.
“The goal of KCJTL is really to provide a novice venue for Kansas City area youth to play tennis,” said KCJTL president Holly Mosher. “We have had tremendous success over the years in hosting a strong league, with over 1,000 participants who get the opportunity to play other kids from across the metro area.
“But the main goal of our organization is to get Kansas City-area kids out on the courts, having fun playing tennis.
“The instruction given to the players comes from their resident tennis pro,” Mosher added.
There are three age groups: 10 and under, 12 and under and 13 and over.
The players are divided into two groups: aces and ads. The aces are more competitive, while the ads are novices.
The Johnson County area organizations involved include Blue Hills Country Club, Blue Valley Recreation, Carriage Club Country Club, Elite Squad Tennis Club, Hallbrook Country Club, Homestead Country Club, Indian Hills Country Club, Kansas City Country Club, Lake Quivira Country Club, Leawood Parks and Recreation, Meadowbrook Country Club, Midtown Racquet Club, Milburn Country Club, Mission Hills Country Club, Prairie Village Tennis Center, Round Hill Tennis Club and Woodside Tennis and Health Club.
The 60th KCJTL season started June 3.
“The season includes one play day each week at each organization to identify who will represent that organization in play against other clubs,” Mosher said. “There is one match each week against another club consisting of four singles matches and two doubles matches.”
There is an end-of-season tournament coming in July. It will be played on courts all around the Kansas City area. It begins with doubles matches on July 15 with a rainout date of July 16. Singles matches are on July 17 with July 18 if there is rain on July 17.
“The semifinals and finals in both the main draw and consolation draw will be played on July 19,” executive director Rebecca Kornitzer said. “The goal of the tournament is really to allow the league participants the opportunity to compete in a tournament setting after dedicating their time over the last six weeks to improving their tennis game.”
With the growth of the Kansas City area since 1954, KCJTL has grown as well.
“KCJTL is incorporated as a non-for-profit corporation,” Mosher said. “It is governed by a volunteer board of directors elected annually by representatives of the member organizations.”
The play during the regular season is run by volunteer parents.
“They organize the team ladders and league play,” Mosher said. “There is a tennis professional who oversees the program.”
For more information on the organization, go tokcjtl.org.