Making Strides Beyond the Net: Catching up with Corinne Chau

February 16, 2023

This February, USTA Mid-Atlantic is honoring Black History Month by celebrating the stories of African Americans who have dedicated themselves to create and build community through tennis. This week, we are revisiting a past Black History Month spotlight Corinne Chau to see how she is continuing to find, create, and build community through tennis.


Corinne Chau, who won USTA Mid-Atlantic’s Serve It Forward Award in 2020, has been busy since the last time we caught up with her.  Inspired by tennis pioneer Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson, the then 14-year-old created a literacy project called the Whirlwind Reading Challenge to help the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation (WJF) raise funds to turn Dr. J’s Lynchburg, VA house into a museum. 


Four years later, her project is still going strong spreading awareness of Dr. J, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, and other Black tennis legends. So far, Corinne’s challenge has raised $4,589 and she hopes to hit the $5,000 mark this spring before she graduates from high school.  


Corinne’s continued efforts led to her appointment as a Youth Ambassador for the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation.  Further, in recognition of her community service, Corinne was invited to be a guest speaker at the ceremony where the City of New York honored the tennis trailblazer’s childhood street Althea Gibson Way.

A couple of weeks later, Corinne was on WCHR-FM, “The Voice of Harlem.”  She and the radio show’s guests discussed the legacies of Black tennis greats— especially Johnson, Gibson and Ashe— and how this International Tennis Hall of Fame trio is integral to the fabric of tennis - including in the Mid-Atlantic region, our country and the world.


Corinne’s continued success stretches far beyond the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation. She currently serves on USTA Mid-Atlantic’s new Junior Player Council along with other youth leaders from around the region. Last May, as a team captain, Corinne led Howard High Varsity Tennis to the Regional Championship and won its first State Championship tennis title in school history.  


In recognition of her individual performance, Corinne received a 2022 All-Metro Honorable Mention nod from The Washington Post, making her one the Top 20 girls playing high school tennis in all of Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia.


Corinne is looking forward to 2023 being another outstanding tennis season for her, her high school team and her Whirlwind Reading Challenge. Her continued love of the game and tireless dedication to tennis continues to make an impact here in the Mid-Atlantic and beyond.


Check out Corinne’s original story and her work with the Whirlwind Johnson Foundation.   


To help Corinne make her $5k goal on behalf of the Whirlwind Foundation, click here to donate: https://whirlwindreadingchallenge.weebly.com/donate.html



Join our Black History Month celebration by subscribing to USTA Mid-Atlantic’s YouTube Channel and following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


This year USTA Mid-Atlantic, 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. Learn about our impact in the Section and how USTA Mid-Atlantic creates community, character, and well-being.

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