ATA, USTA strike
May 22, 2018
The American Tennis Association (ATA) will host its 101st ATA National Championships at the USTA National Campus this summer after the USTA and ATA struck a long-term partnership that represents a historic milestone in tennis history.
The summer edition of the annual week-long event will take place July 28-Aug. 4, when more than 2,500 participants and visitors will make their way to the new home of American tennis in Orlando, Fla.
As the oldest African-American sports organization in the country, the ATA was founded in Washington, D.C., in 1916, with a mission to promote black tennis in America, as a result of African-Americans being barred from competing in USLTA-sanctioned events. The ATA founders established the first ATA National Championships a year later. Held in Baltimore, the inaugural Championships included just three events – men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles. ADVERTISEMENT Today, the ATA National Championships has grown to include 50 competitive categories, with thousands of competitors ranging from 10 to 80 years of age.
Known as an annual cultural and tennis family reunion, the ATA National Championships will now be hosted at the USTA National Campus every three to four years through the ATA and USTA partnership. This year’s National Championships will include a variety of opportunities for players and fans to engage in a wide range of activities led by USTA Player Development throughout the Campus, including tennis exhibitions, Net Generation clinics, seminars and parent trainings. The event welcomes youth and families, including NJTL, Junior Team Tennis and tournament players; ATA membership fees will be waived for first-time youth participants.
“This is indeed a historic milestone for both the USTA and the ATA,” said USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams. “We are excited by this partnership and its long-term potential. For years, African-Americans were not allowed to compete in USLTA events, and now the USTA will be hosting the ATA’s biggest event. I think that’s the ultimate testament to the power of tennis to unite. As a former ATA champion myself, this is truly an accomplishment that I’m overwhelmingly honored to be a part of, and I look forward to sharing this moment with ATA President Willie Emerson and Tournament Director Sallie Elam.”
“As we start into our second 100 years, it is an honor to host the ATA's 101st National Tennis Championships at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.,” said ATA president Willie Emerson. “The ATA is looking forward to continue working with the USTA to promote tennis in our communities and local parks.”
The ATA National Championships has a long and rich history of champions who have gone on to become notable tennis professionals and iconic figures in the world of sports. They include Adams (a former world No. 8-ranked doubles champion), seven-time WTA singles champion Chanda Rubin, former Wimbledon finalist Zina Garrison, French Open mixed doubles champion Leslie Allen and two of the sport's leading legends – Hall of Famers Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson.
Registration for the 2018 ATA National Championships is now open, with further details available on the ATA website.
(Photo courtesy of the American Tennis Association)