Courting Success: From Mid-Atlantic to the Majors
Some of the most influential players have at one time called the Mid-Atlantic home. During our Centennial Celebration in 2023, USTA Mid-Atlantic will highlight 50 noteworthy and intriguing players.
Getting their start in their youth, many of the eight players featured in this next edition capsule collection made their way from courts in the Mid-Atlantic to the grandest of stages including the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Read about their roots in our region and how that shaped them for future success.
The Centennial Celebration is underway and there are many ways you can get involved including joining the Centennial Club, Nominating for the Hall of Fame and saving Dec. 1 for the Centennial Gala! If you missed them, revisit our past “Courting Success” capsules here.
Fred McNair IV
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Chevy Chase, Md., Fred McNair IV came from a tennis-playing family. In 1965 he won the first of nine USTA Father & Son national championships. Both his grandfather and father played in the U.S. Nationals/US Open, and so did he. After attending the University of North Carolina, where he was a four-time All-American and an NCAA doubles finalist in 1973, he played for nine years as a professional, winning four singles and 16 doubles titles. In 1975 he reached the US Open men’s doubles final. Eight months later he won the 1976 French Open doubles title and achieved the No. 1 doubles ranking in doubles. The following year he attained his highest ranking in singles, No. 77, and was a member of the 1978 U.S. Davis Cup team that won the championship. McNair was inducted into the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 1997.
Ann Koger learned to play tennis in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park and won the ATA Girls’ 12s national championship in 1961 and won the ATA women’s doubles title seven years later. Following Bonnie Logan she became in 1969 the second woman to play on the Morgan State University’s men’s tennis team and to represent a historically Black university at an NCAA-affiliated championship. She also followed in Logan’s footsteps by playing on the Virginia Slims circuit from 1973 to 1977. In the years that followed Koger was a highly ranked adult player and was named the PTR/PA Player of the Year in 1998 and the PTR International Player of the Year in 1999. She served as head coach of women’s tennis at Haverford College for 35 years, retiring from her position in 2016.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Md., Steve Krulevitz won the Maryland Scholastic Association singles championship four times, became the state of Maryland men’s champion when he was 15 years old, and topped off his junior résumé by earning a spot on the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team. At the University of California at Los Angeles he was named an All-American in 1973 and turned pro the following year, reaching a career high of No. 70 in 1981. He played in 32 majors, including 13 US Opens, and won a gold medal for the United States at the 1977 Maccabiah Games. After becoming a dual citizen he represented Israel in Davis Cup from 1978 to 1980 and coached the Israel Davis Cup Team in 1989. Krulevitz coached a number of professional players, including Gilad Bloom, Vince Spadea and Jaime Ygaza, and taught tennis to players of all ages for decades. He was inducted into the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993.
Nancy Ornstein, who was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area, won the Girls’ 12s title at the 1964 Orange Bowl and ended 1969 and 1970 ranked in the USTA Girls’ Top 10. At age 17 she competed at the US Open, the first of her six major appearances, which also included the French Open and Wimbledon. On the women’s tour she reached a career high of No. 81 in 1975. She subsequently became a teaching professional and coach in the Washington, D.C., area as well as the USTA Mid-Atlantic’s No. 1 player in age categories ranging up to the Women’s 50s. She was inducted into the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003.
Taking up tennis after a junior player who was staying at his house for a local tournament presented him with a racquet, Baltimore-born Brian Gottfried became a top junior himself, winning the U.S. Boys’ 18s national championship in singles and doubles and 14 junior national titles overall. A two-time All-American at Trinity University and a 1972 NCAA singles and doubles finalist, he finished in the U.S. Top 10 eleven times between 1972 and 1983. In singles Gottfried collected 24 titles and peaked at No. 3 in the world after reaching the 1977 French Open final, and he was even more successful in doubles, capturing 52 titles, including three major crowns with Raul Ramirez, at Wimbledon in 1976 and the French Open in 1975 and 1977. Gottfried became the world’s No. 2 doubles player in 1976.
Born in Washington, D.C., Harold Solomon began playing tennis in his hometown of Silver Spring, Md. In 1970 he captured the U.S. Boy’s 18s clay court national championship and became the No. 2-ranked junior in the nation, and then played on the Rice University men’s tennis team from 1971 to 1972, earning All-American honors. In his professional career Solomon was ranked as high as No. 5 in the world and won 22 singles titles while reaching the French Open final in 1976 and the US Open semifinals in 1977, finishing in the U.S. Top 10 nine times. He served as president of the Association of Tennis Professionals and on its board of directors, and also became the coach of a number of top players, including Jennifer Capriati, Jim Courier, Mary Joe Fernandez, Anna Kournikova, and Monica Seles. He was inducted into the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994.
Renee Blount was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in St. Louis, Mo. As a junior she was ranked No. 1 in the Girls’ 14s, 16s, and 18s age divisions and won three national championships, including the 1970 Easter Bowl Girls’ 14s title. She attended Hampton University, where she played on the men’s tennis team because the school did not have a women’s team, and then transferred to UCLA, where she earned All-American honors in singles and doubles in 1978 before turning pro. Blount reached the French Open mixed doubles quarterfinals in 1980 and competed at Wimbledon five times, advancing to the women’s doubles quarterfinals in 1984. After achieving rankings of No. 63 in singles and No. 8 in doubles she became an assistant coach for the University of Virginia women’s tennis team and founded the Keswick Tennis Foundation in Central Virginia.
Born in Washington, D.C., Chip Hooper achieved the nation’s No. 1 ranking in singles at the University of Arkansas in 1980 and earned All-American honors in 1981. His first full year on the pro tour was 1982, when he reached the Round of 16 at the French Open and achieved a singles career high of No. 17 while being named ATP Newcomer of the Year. In doubles his booming serve helped him advance to the quarterfinals of the 1982 US Open. He won five doubles titles in all and peaked at No. 18 in the doubles rankings.
This year USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is celebrating 100 years of promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Get involved and show your support for the next 100 years of tennis.