The USTA announced that it will partner with the American Tennis Association (ATA) to host the 101st ATA National Championships at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., July 28-Aug 4. The annual week-long event will host more than 2,500 participants and visitors.
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, including men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles. 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 3-4 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, to name just a few. The event welcomes youth and families including NJTL, Junior Team Tennis and tournament players; ATA membership 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 the 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 championship 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 including Adams, who is 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 sports leading legends—Hall-of-Famers Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson.
Registration for the 2018 ATA National Championships is now open. Competitors can visit www.americantennisassociation.org/national-championship/ for more information.