Warren Kimball, USTA historian | January 1, 2017
1874 – Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, a retired British officer, publishes “The Major’s Game of Lawn Tennis.” That was, indisputably, the beginning of our game: lawn tennis. The game was centered in the Northeast, but by the mid-1870s, it was being played in New Orleans, San Francisco and even Camp Apache in the Arizona Territory, likely brought there by British merchants and consuls.
1881 – Founding of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association. A small group of men from northeastern clubs, where most lawn tennis was played, form an association to promote the standardization of the rules and regulations for lawn tennis throughout the United States.
1881 – The first U.S, National Singles Championship for men, the precursor to the modern-day US Open, is held at the Casino in Newport, R.I.
1882 – James (“Jim”) Dwight, the founding father of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association, is elected president for the first of his 21 single-year terms.
1900 – The inaugural men’s International Lawn Tennis Challenge (Davis Cup) match is won by the United States, playing a British Isles team at Longwood Cricket Club outside Boston.
1917 – A committee on Equalization of Voting Power is established after hints of secession from midwestern and western sections, which sought a greater role in governance.
1920 – The USNLTA drops the "N" from its name and becomes the USLTA.
1923 – The USLTA capitalizes a new stadium at the West Side Tennis club in Forest Hills, N.Y. The West Side Tennis Club serves as the primary residence for the U.S. Championships until 1978.
1950 – Althea Gibson’s application to play in the U.S. National Championships is “accepted on her ability.” The 23-year-old became the first black American player, woman or man, to play in a Grand Slam event.
1958 – Individual membership is established, changing the association’s focus on clubs as the only voting members.
1962 – The first woman, Marion Wood Huey, is elected to the executive committee.
1963 – The inaugural International Tennis Federation’s international women’s team championship (later called the Fed Cup) is won by the United States against Australia.
1968 – Bob Kelleher and Alastair Martin go to Paris and, following strong British actions, negotiate with the International Lawn Tennis Federation to allow Open tennis. Thus, the U.S. Championships become the US Open.
1973 – USTA incorporates as a not-for-profit sports association, with the National Educational Foundation permitted to receive tax deductible contributions.
1975 – The U.S. Lawn Tennis Association loses its “L” and becomes the USTA.
1978 – The US Open moves to its new location, under President Slew Hester’s leadership, at Flushing Meadows in Queens, N.Y.
1980 – USTA hires its first executive director.
1983 – Puerto Rico together with the U.S. Virgin Islands become the last of the USTA’s 17 sections.
1989 – The first woman officer, Barbara Williams, is elected to the board of directors.
1993 – USTA strictly forbids discrimination in sanctioned tournaments, soon expanded to include discrimination throughout the association.
1993 – The first African-American officer, Dwight Mosley, is elected to the board of directors.
1996 – The association adopts its first strategic plan.
1997 – Arthur Ashe Stadium is completed at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. The stadium is the largest tennis-specific stadium on the world, seating 23,200.
1999 – The first woman, Judy Levering, is elected USTA president.
2006 – The US Open changes the name of its site to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in honor of the tennis legend and ambassador, a product of America’s public parks.
2015 – The first African-American woman and first former touring pro, Katrina Adams, is elected USTA president.
2016 – As part of a larger strategic transformation that renovates the US Open grounds, a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium is completed.
2017 – The USTA National Campus at Lake Nona in Orlando, Fla., is unveiled (pictured above). Billed as the new Home of American Tennis, the National Campus houses the USTA’s Community Tennis and Player Development operations and features 100 courts built over 64 acres.