a legacy of uniting our communities through the love of tennis
The ATA is the oldest African American Sports organization in the United States. For over 100 years, the goal of the ATA has been to drive diversity, inclusion, and equity in the game of tennis. We build partnerships and programs to increase opportunities and to focus on helping underserved communities grow in the game of tennis.
Thank you for your interest in the American Tennis Association (ATA).
As I enter my third term as President of the ATA, I realize that the ATA has never been more relevant and important for those of us that love the game of tennis. I've come to think of the ATA as an organization that is inspired to be more than diverse and inclusive. Our mission in a broad and enduring sense is to be an organization that believes in equity. To me, equity is that everyone, no matter their race, religion, economic status, disability, or sexual persuasion, should be able to go through the same door of opportunity. We want to be that sports organization that provides opportunities to learn, teach, mentor, and grow top tennis players and leaders in our communities. This purpose has been evident since the establishment of the ATA when our founders set out to build this premier African American tennis organization.
The ATA has served our
tennis community for
over 104 years. We
are one of a kind.
To date we have over 4,700 life time members, the ATA is more active than
it has ever been.
Since 1917, the ATA has hosted an annual tournament that averages 950 participants per year.
Our youth represent over 15 regional and international junior development rallies, its no wonder why our juniors grow up healthy, productive and ready to play as adults.
A Proud Tradition
Defined by Excellence
Lucy Diggs Slowe made history as the winner of the first ATA National Women's Singles Championship in 1917. Ms. Slowe was also a 17-time tennis champion. On January 15, 1908, Slowe and nine other woman founded the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. In 1922, she became the first Dean of Women at Howard University.
Tennis has its origins in the medieval era, but the modern form of lawn tennis was patented in 1874 by Walter C. Wingfield in Great Britain. The first Wimbledon tournament was played in 1877. The first tennis court in the U.S. was built in 1876, and the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association was formed in 1881. International competition began in 1900 with the first Davis Cup tournament between the U.S. and Great Britain.
African-American universities, including Tuskegee and Howard, offered tennis to students from the 1890s. Beginning in 1898 at Philadelphia’s Chautauqua Tennis Club, African-American tennis players from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast competed in invitational tournaments.
When the USLTA (Currently the USTA) issued a policy statement formally barring African-American tennis players from its competitions, the Association Tennis Club of Washington, DC, and the Monumental Tennis Club of Baltimore, Maryland, conceived the idea of the American Tennis Association (ATA).
The ATA was born when representatives from more than a dozen black tennis clubs met in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 30, 1916, Thanksgiving Day. Dr. Harry S. McCard, Dr. William H. Wright, Dr. B.M. Rhetta, Ralph Cook, Henry Freeman, and Tally Holmes were among the ATA’s founding fathers. Holmes, of Washington, D.C., won the first two ATA men’s singles titles.
Walter R Johnson
Coach of Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, and many others.