You may think of tennis officials as the ones you see on TV, standing stoically at the back of the court and barking “out,” or in the chair calling out the score when the applause dies down.
But most officials are not on the big stages of the professional tours. They are around the corner at a tennis facility, club or college near you. Tatia Neal is one of those local officials who handle the vast majority of tennis officiating at junior tournaments. She is a rover and a referee.
Like most officials, Neal began and still works as a roving official at junior events, assigned to numerous courts. “I enjoy tennis and watching the kids grow. Three years later, they are taller than you,” she explained.
“My daughter, Nicki, played juniors and then played at Southern University. When she went off to college, I wanted to stay involved,” Neal recounted. “I sent one email and I was contacted by someone from the USTA.”
After several years, Neal worked her way up to
Other officials, like Atlanta’s Holly Stroud and Bob Sinos, work alongside the world’s best players. The married couple started roving just like Neal. But, now they spend most of their time calling lines and chairing matches, in addition to roving junior matches and working college events at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.
Stroud and Sinos also work at the BB&T Atlanta, Cincinnati, Miami Open and other major tournaments around the country, including the US Open.