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OUR PROUD TRADITION Of EXCELLENCE DEFINES US
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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES: Donald Young Secures Wild Card Into 2019 BNP Paribas Open

Thursday, February 28, 2019


Congratulations are in order for Donald Young, as the American has secured a wild card into the main draw of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.

The fourth event in the 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series is underway at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and Young clinched one of the two men’s wild cards by advancing to the third round of the tournament and taking the leaderboard lead with 80 points going into his third round match against Lloyd Harris. Yong’s admirable run, coupled with several American losses yesterday, have cemented his claim to a main draw wild card into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.

Full article here.

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The WTA Remembers The First Title Won By Serena Williams On This Date Twenty Years Ago


Twenty years ago today, one of the greatest careers in tennis began in earnest as Serena Williams won the first of 72 WTA Tour titles to date at the Open Gaz de France in Paris. wtatennis.com looks back at how it all kicked off for the American champion.



A post shared by WTA (@wta) on


Full Article here.

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2019 DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS: Gael Monfils Into Thursday's Semi Finals


Thursday's 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi finals include No. 2 seed and seven-time champion Roger Federer, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, No. 6 Borna Coric and Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Monfils defeated Lithuanian qualifier Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-3. Up next for Monfils is Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

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2019 BRASIL OPEN: The Ever Evolving Felix Auger-Aliassime Is Through To The Quarterfinals In Sao Paulo


Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime hit the clay courts today and continued his ability to successfully ascend through recent tournaments.  Auger-Aliassime defeated Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(2), 7-6(5).


Auger-Aliassime also experienced ankle issues during the match, hopefully they will be resolved overnight.

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TWITTER FILES: Gael Monfils and Elina Svitolina Just Want To Bring Greetings From Dubai.. Then The Best Video Bomb Ever Occurs


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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: "A Blueprint For Life," Bill Davis

Black Tennis Pro's Bill Davis A Blueprint For LifeBill Davis


I grew up in Harlem, which was an unlikely place to find a private Black tennis club. In 1940 at the age of ten, while walking past the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club at 149th street and Convent Avenue, a voice in the doorway said, "Hey kid, want to run balls for this match?". My answer was an immediate "Yes", for I had always wanted to see what was on the other side of that fence. It so happens that the American Tennis Association (ATA) was conducting their annual National Championships at the club. Once inside, it was like Alice In Wonderland to me. They had a club house, five red clay courts and a junior program. That's the day I fell in love with the world of tennis.

As I ran around the court picking up the balls, I noticed that the players would shake hands at the end of the match, even though they had been fierce competitors a moment before. I understood later that good competition and sportsmanship was not just about who won and who lost, but also had to do with the quality and determination of how each played the game. Did they give it their all and play near their full potential? Were their calls honest, even on important points? Did they learn something about themselves as well as their game? This would be only the first of many lessons tennis, and it’s environment would teach me. Finding the answers to these questions would be an invaluable lesson in the years to come.

My eagerness and desire to learn the game eventually earned me a membership in the club. As I got to know the members, many of whom I considered the Black middle-class of the day, and listened in on their conversations, their words and stories, indicated that there were no short cuts to success, either in tennis or in life. They talked of the importance of getting a good education if you wanted a job with a career. They said that tennis was a game for honest people because you had to continually execute the basic techniques of the game, such as watching the ball on contact or making sure you completed your follow-through on your ground strokes. Respect for those who came before you also was essential, they said, because they had both seniority and experience over you. I over-heard them say that discipline came from hard work and diligence, and that with each act you perform you are putting your own signature on it. As I look back now, I realize that a blueprint for living was beginning to take shape in my mind.

As my game improved I became aware that tennis was not only a game of sets and matches, but in reality a game of points, with each point having it's own scenario and meaning. Although speed and strength may have its own merits, competitive tennis is at least 50% mental. Fortunately, for me many of my matches were to be won on my ability to concentrate for the entire time it took for the match. A fire-cracker could go off next to the courts and it wouldn't bother me. But my biggest mental weapon however, was my determination to win. Being down a set just made me more determined to hang in. Later on I would find this attitude indispensable in the world of business for too many people limit their challenges instead of challenging their limits .

As a result of my accomplishments in tennis I got a scholarship to Tennessee State University, where I had to manage the dual roles of athlete and student. Remembering the sage words of getting a good education in order to get a meaningful job, I managed to graduate with a 3.5 average, and in 1955 get selected to "Who's Who In American Colleges and Universities". The experience of traveling, both for the team and on my own after graduation, gave me a special kind of enrichment.

Fortunately, tennis took me all over the world. From the ATA Championships in Wilberforce, Ohio where I was fortunate to win it’s Championships a grand total of 11 times, to the US Grass Court Championships at Forest Hills, the All Bermuda Tournament, Wimbledon, and the British Hard Court Championships in England, the German Nationals in Wolfsberg Germany where they made the Volkswagon car. Tennis became my passion, and opened up the whole world to me. There's no experience like seeing different lands and meeting people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Tennis taught me never to change a winning game, and experiencing people of diverse backgrounds taught me what a great value there is in respecting each other's differences. After all, where would the world be if we all thought or acted alike?

The long arms of tennis once again caressed me when a tennis contact of mine arranged a job interview for me with IBM. I would stay with them for the next 27 years as a systems engineer and education producer. After an early retirement from IBM, I was fortunate enough to be appointed an Assistant Commissioner in the NYC Parks Department during the Dinkins administration. As you can see so many of the lessons and contacts that I received from tennis transcended into the world of business. The matches I won because I refused to give up, or the patience to focus for an entire match had all prepared me for this other competitive world. Patricia, my beautiful and loving wife, who I had met earlier in my tennis days at a tournament in New Haven, but didn’t meet again for some 30 plus years, was another wonderful blessing of tennis. That's why I feel so strongly that the many experiences, lessons, and contacts we encounter in sports can go a long way in filling out that blueprint called life.



©Bill Davis - All Rights Reserved


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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black Tennis - A Historical Perspective By Bob Davis

Black Tennis Pro's Bob Davis Black History Month Minority Tennis - A Historical PerspectiveThis Black History Month perspective is a three-part article written by Bob Davis whom you will meet, and on some level come to know, through the words of his writing.  Each of the three parts are available in this post. 


At a time when Bob was a contributing editor for Tennis Life Magazine , he wrote this perspective that frankly, engagingly and historically captures the contributions, successes and struggles of Black tennis players and coaches in the world of tennis; it is still on point today.

It is always a true honor and pleasure to share the depth of historical knowledge and perspective that comes second nature to Bob. Without question I know that you will find it a must read also.

Years ago Bob was referred to me by his brother, Bill Davis, whose story is one of the most read posts here.

It is Bob's intention, along with others such as Arthur Carrington of Art Carrington Tennis Academy and Dale G. Caldwell of Black Tennis Hall of Fame to accurately preserve and present the history of Blacks in tennis. You will be able to see examples of what these gentlemen are doing to make this happen.

Bob stated to me that "The players today need to have an appreciation for the the likes of players such as Billy Davis and George Stewart and the people that pioneered the Black tennis world when we were not allowed to play USTA tournaments. Therein lay the value of The ATA (American Tennis Association), our only way to play tennis competitively."

In recounting some of the racial struggles that he, Arthur Ashe and other players endured as they entered the tennis world he said, "Something in me wishes all of these young players understood that it took that kind of perseverance, and that kind of exposure to enable them to just walk out there and send in an entry fee."

I was so captivated with my conversation with Bob that I could go on with those words and the offering would hold just as much interest. However, I will stop here and let you read his experiences and thoughts as presented in his perspective.

SYMBOLS OF CHANGE

MINORITY TENNIS – A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
PART I
THE BEGINNING

Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865. Nearly 15 years later, in 1880, the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) was founded (The name was later changed to USTA). Tennis was the dominion of the white, upper class and Blacks were neither interested, nor invited to participate. Segregation was rampant throughout America and an attitude of exclusion was pervasive in most areas of American society.

Blacks began to surface on tennis courts in about 1890 at Tuskegee Institute. Booker T. Washington, one of America’s great, black visionaries and leaders, founded Tuskegee. In his famous Atlanta Address of 1895, Booker T. Washington set forth the motivating spirit behind Tuskegee Institute. In a post Reconstruction era marked by growing segregation and disfranchisement of blacks, this spirit was based on what realistically might be achieved in that time and place. "The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now," he observed, "is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera house." Because of Washington's extraordinary ability to work within the system and to maximize the possible, Tuskegee flourished to the extent only dreamed about when he met his first students on July 4, 1881.

By 1898, Blacks began to have inter-club matches with rival black clubs in New York, Philadelphia and a variety of other eastern seaboard cities. These inter-club rivalries were primarily networking opportunities; occasions for the black, college-graduated elite to commune with their colleagues from other cities. This group of clubs eventually grew in number until an organizational structure was needed. In 1916, the American Tennis Association (ATA) was created as the governing body of Black tennis in America. In the fifty years since slavery was abolished, 80% of the Black population became educated. Nearly 4 million people came out of slavery as legislated illiterates and by 1915, an elite middle-class had been formed. By today’s standards, this is a phenomenal accomplishment. When one considers the growing rate of illiteracy across America, illiteracy that transcends racial lines, we should look at this statistic with awe and wonder!

In any event, it was this continuing attitude of separation that caused a group of black professionals to form the American Tennis Association (ATA) in 1916. The primary mission of the ATA was the formation of a circuit of black clubs and tournaments across the country. This new organization permitted the black elite to travel from city to city, network amongst their peers and enjoy the game of tennis. These separate but unequal tennis societies continued without conflict for nearly 25 years. While blacks enjoyed the social and the networking opportunities provided by the ATA, the USLTA enjoyed the pristine, private, country club environment that offered the same opportunities to it’s constituency.

In many ways, this elite Black society was born of necessity. Blacks were determined to do for themselves what the segregated governing society refused to do for them. Significantly, these elite middle-class Blacks were graduates of Black colleges and universities and were educated in the Arts and Sciences. They became doctors, lawyers and educators and, because there was no access to professional sports at that time, went to college to develop the foundations for lifetime careers.

And so, Black business – and Black tennis flourished during the first quarter of the twentieth century. The ATA held its first national championship in 1917 in Baltimore, MD. Tally Holmes and Lucy Slowe emerged as the winners of that historic event. It was obvious that the ATA had gotten off to a resounding start and now emphasis was being placed on increasing the number of new clubs and the creation of junior development programs. By the mid-1930’s there were more than 100 member-clubs, many of them private, black-owned tennis and golf country clubs. This idyllic serenity was about to undergo a change as players began to improve and the desire to compete at the highest levels of the sport took on greater importance. The very first confrontation came in 1929 when Reginald Weir and Gerald Norman were denied entry into the National Indoors in New York City. Both paid their entry fees, but upon presenting themselves to play in the event, were denied the opportunity to participate. Formal complaints were filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the following response was received from the USLTA: “….the policy of the USLTA has been to decline the entry of colored players in our championships… In pursuing this policy we make no reflection upon the colored race but we believe that as a practical matter, the present methods of separate associations should be continued.” Neither Weir nor Norman were permitted to play, but it was now clear that the cauldron was being stirred.


PART II
THE EMERGENCE OF A BLACK CHAMPION

Role models within black communities were also easy to find during the forty’s and fifty’s. Segregation prevented successful Blacks from moving into the white, suburban communities, so “inner-city” children resided alongside doctors, lawyers and other legitimate businesspeople. Bandleader Duke Ellington, lightweight boxing champion Beau Jack, New York Giants baseball player Hank Thompson and other world-class entertainers lived within one block of my family’s New York City apartment.

In 1940, Donald Budge, the finest white player in America, took it upon himself to go into Harlem, in New York City, to play an exhibition match at the Black owned Cosmopolitan Tennis Club. He played against the top black player of the day, Jimmy McDaniel. The fact that McDaniel lost the match handily is no more than a footnote to the significance of Budge's appearance. It was the first time that a black player was able to test his skills against a white player; to gauge his strokes, strategy and knowledge of the sport against the best in the world. A white player had taken a stand in support of equal opportunity. Players, you see, have never been the problem; it has always been the administration struggling to break with tradition.

In 1946, a crude, street-tough, 19 year-old named Althea Gibson attracted the attention of two physicians, Dr. Hubert Eaton and Dr. R. Walter Johnson. An arrogant teenager, Althea lost in the finals of the ATA Women’s National Championships but her strength and athletic prowess was undeniable. She won the junior national titles in 1944 & 1945 and now, in her first year playing in the adult division, immediately became a serious challenge to the best ATA women players. By 1949, more than 30 years after the formation of the ATA, Althea began to challenge the collective imagination of the Black tennis community. She was seen as one outstanding player who had the potential to break the color barrier. But, there were problems! Blacks understood that a flaw attributed to one colored athlete would be attributed to all people of color. And Althea had flaws! She had not graduated from high school and her social graces were severely lacking. To Althea, competition was WAR! A loss would see her head straight for the locker room; no handshake, no “nice-match”, no smiles or other generally accepted niceties typically associated with tennis. These “flaws” would need to be corrected lest those that would follow her be burdened with her baggage. In fact, it was generally believed that if her “flaws” weren’t repaired, no one would be allowed to follow her. At the urging of world boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson, Althea moved to Wilmington, NC to live with Dr. Eaton and his family as she studied to secure a high school diploma. This proximity to Dr. Eaton would also provide an opportunity to instill the manners and perspective that she would need to succeed. Summers had been well spent in training at Dr. Johnson’s home in Lynchburg, VA. By this time, Althea had become the class-of-the-field. She began to raise national awareness when, as a high school sophomore, she won 9 ATA tournaments without a loss. The overall strategy worked and in 1949, at the age of 22, Althea received her high school diploma and her graduation ring (paid for by welter-weight champion of the world, Sugar Ray Robinson).

The recognition that she received would pressure the USLTA to accept her entries into the Eastern Indoors and the National Indoors in 1949. She reached the quarterfinals of both events and now hoped to play the grass court circuit that led up to the USLTA National Championships at Forest Hills, New York. (In the pre-U.S. Open era, the U.S. National Championships were held on grass courts not far from today’s National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows). But, the USLTA had not yet decided if it would allow this “colored” woman to be the first of her race to play in America’s most prestigious tournament.

Racial prejudice, to many people of color, is a very confusing experience. Many people wondered how Pancho Segura, a man of color from Guayaquil, Equador, stricken with Rickets during childhood, was so easily welcomed into this lily-white environment. He was considerably darker in color than Althea, yet his acceptance never questioned. His bout with rickets caused his legs to be severely bowed and he was quite pigeon-toed. In fact, Billy Talbert and Segura, ranked number one and three in America respectively, represented the USLTA in an exhibition in Harlem in 1945. Talbert disposed of Jimmy McDaniels 6-2, 6-1, while Pancho beat Lloyd Scott, 6-2, 6-2. Pancho thrilled the Cosmopolitan crowds with his two fisted (baseball-like) style. In spite of his infirmities, Pancho was quite a good player. His earliest success came as a student at the University of Miami, where he won the NCAA singles championships three times in a row (from 1943 to 1945), a feat not matched in the twentieth century. I mention this only as a point of interest because Althea held no animosity towards Pancho; or anyone else for that matter. His unconditional acceptance into the white, inner-circle, indeed his affiliation with the USLTA was, and remains, somewhat of a curiosity.

Now, a nearly two decades after Don Budge stood his ground and broke with tradition, one of America’s finest women players would stand up for Althea. Alice Marble, one of the finest white players in America would challenge the administration to allow her to compete. She wrote an impassioned letter to the American Lawn Tennis Magazine in 1950 that was primarily responsible for Althea’s ability to play in and win Wimbledon and the U.S. National Titles in 1957 & 58.

This letter, given the time, context and author eloquently exposed the prejudice more clearly as anything before or since.

The letter read:

“On my current lecture tours, the question I am most frequently expected to answer is no longer: What do you think of Gussie’s panties? For every individual who still cares whether Gussie Moran has lace on her drawers, there are three who want to know if Althea Gibson will be permitted to play in the Nationals this year. Not being privy to the sentiments of the USLTA committee, I couldn’t answer their questions, but I came back to New York determined to find out. When I directed the question at a committee member of long standing, his answer, tacitly given, was in the negative. Unless something within the realm of the supernatural occurs, Miss Gibson will not be permitted to play in the Nationals.

He said nothing of the sort, of course. The attitude of the committee will be that Miss Gibson has not sufficiently proven herself. True enough, she was a finalist in the National Indoors, the gentleman admitted – but didn’t I think the field was awfully poor? I did not. It is my opinion that Miss Gibson performed beautifully under the circumstances. Considering how little play she has had in top competition, her win over a seasoned veteran like Midge Buck seems to me a real triumph. Nevertheless the committee, according to this member, insists that in order to qualify for the Nationals, Miss Gibson must also make a strong showing in the major eastern tournaments to be played between now and the date set for the big do at Forest Hills. Most of these major tournaments – Orange, East Hampton, Essex, etc, - are invitational, of course. If she is not invited to participate in them, as my committee member freely predicted, then she obviously will not be able to prove anything at all, and it will be the reluctant duty of the committee to reject her entry at Forest Hills. Miss Gibson is over a very cunningly wrought barrel, and I can only hope to loosen a few of its staves with one lone opinion.

I think it’s time we faced a few facts. If tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, it’s also time we acted a little more like gentle people and less like sanctimonious hypocrites. If there is anything left in the name of sportsmanship, it’s more than time f\to display what it means to us. If Althea Gibson represents a challenge to the present crop of women players, it’s only fair that they should meet that challenge on the courts, where tennis is played. I know those girls, and I can’t think of one who would refuse to meet Miss Gibson in competition. She might be soundly beaten for a while – but she has a much better chance on the courts than in the inner sanctum of the committee, where a different kind of game is played.” In closing, Miss Marble wrote: “I am beating no drums for Miss Gibson as a player of outstanding quality. As I said, I have seen her only in the National Indoors, where she obviously did play her best and was still able to display some lovely shots. To me, she is a fellow tennis player and, as such, deserving of the chance I had to prove myself. I’ve never met Miss Gibson but, to me, she is a fellow human being to whom equal privileges ought to be extended. Speaking for myself, I will be glad to help Althea Gibson in any way I can. If I can improve her game or merely give her the benefit of my own experiences, as I have many other young players, I’ll do that. If I can give her an iota more of confidence by rooting my heart out from the gallery, she can take my ford for it: I’ll be there.”

This impassioned letter was singularly responsible for Althea’s acceptance into several qualifying tournaments and for her admittance into the 1950 U.S Nationals. Althea easily won her first round match and lost in the second round of the Nationals to Louise Brough, a three- time Wimbledon Champion and the 1947 United States Champion. The 9-7 third set loss to Brough put everyone on notice that a serious, new contender had arrived. Althea had broken the color barrier! She went on to win the French Open singles and doubles and the Wimbledon doubles titles in 1956. She became the undisputed best player in the world by winning Wimbledon and the U.S National singles titles in 1957 and 1958. Althea retired to pursue a career in professional golf and as an entertainer, but before leaving this page I want to say to Althea Gibson (whom I have known, admired, played tennis with and whom I have called a friend since I was a kid) “Althea, you did us proud!”




Althea was also a celebrity of world-class proportions in her adopted hometown of New York City. She became a product spokesperson for the Ward Baking Company and (At left) was greeted on the steps of City Hall by Mayor Robert Wagner. Like Jackie Robinson before her, Althea had finally become “somebody.” She won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1957 and 1958 – something that no Black woman has ever done before….or since.











PART III

THE THIRD GENERATION


At the end of Althea’s career, Dr. Johnson realized that his dream of helping to produce a world champion was successful. But, he had something else up his sleeve… For the past several years, he had been grooming other talented youngsters at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia. Each summer, a group of the most talented minority youth from across the country would gather at his home to train and play tournaments. I was selected as the northeastern candidate and this is how I met the next world champion, Arthur Ashe. We were a talented group but it soon became clear that Arthur was something special. He was a quiet, determined youngster and was developing a formidable tennis game. In Dr. Johnson’s opinion, Arthur was perfect to lead the charge because he was unflappable. Insults, flagrant cheating and verbal abuse would roll off of Arthur’s back without effect. The mission was clear; win quietly and respond to nothing but the tennis ball. It was further made clear that any of us that reacted to the bad calls; any of us that argued; any of us that responded to the verbal slurs or challenged the fairness of the situation, would be sent home immediately. Although none of us were sent home for violations of these rules, those of us from the big, northern cities had to bite our tongues. Arthur, on the other had was born and raised in the segregated south. His father was the public park attendant at the tennis courts across the street from his home and he couldn’t play on those courts because he was black. He seemed to understand that he was destined for greatness and that his icy-cool demeanor was a key to success. We were made to understand that an outburst by one of us, would be seen as a negative characteristic of the entire group. Tournament directors would be able to say, “See, I knew they’d act that way if we let them into the tournament!” There were many youngsters placed in that situation over the years, but, none of us ever allowed those words to be uttered.

After civil rights legislation was enacted in 1964, history would show that the black elite moved to exclusive, suburban communities. Some people believe that this suburban exodus was the beginning of the decline in the growth of black tennis as well as a slowing of the positive growth in the black community. Others believe that the ability to live beside and emulate positive role models, along with the forced creation of a homogeneous community, were positive aspects of segregation. Black businessmen, both legitimate and otherwise, were guaranteed to be successful - as a direct result of segregation. Any Black that opened a grocery store, produce stand or repair store was certain to capture the business of the local constituency, because those customers were not permitted to patronize white-owned stores. This environment provided fertile ground for entrepreneurs; legitimate businessmen and hustlers alike.

It is into this era that Arthur Ashe emerged as a standout tennis player. In some ways, Arthur was a most unlikely role model and world champion. He was slender, almost frail looking. He was mild-mannered; always appearing to be passive, unemotional and reserved. Did he possess the strength, focus and determination to overcome the alienation of segregation, along with the rejection and degradation that was sure to be in his future? Wouldn’t someone from the north - someone with a more aggressive personality - someone who would defy the system have a better chance to overcome the odds? History would show that Arthur was the perfect candidate. He was simply better than the rest of us. He was a likeable young man and if you were not a hard-core racist, you would find Arthur friendly, personable and non-confrontational. Even in his memoirs, “Days of Grace”, one can sense his absence of anger. Concerning his inability to play tournament tennis in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, Arthur said: “I remember the kindly white tennis official, Sam Woods, who would not allow me to play in municipal tournaments in Richmond, and all the other not-so-kindly officials who barred my way so that I finally played in only one official tennis tournament while I was a junior in Virginia.”

His success as a Davis Cup player and his U.S. Open and Wimbledon titles are legendary. But, his recognition at tennis became the tool that he would use to challenge society to end the racial injustice that plagued the planet. He made several trips to South Africa (against the wishes of many Black leaders in America) to pressure the government to end apartheid. He marched on Washington in support of the fair treatment of Haitian refugees. His life was dedicated to the elevation of his people. He focused a great deal of his attention on education. He encouraged youngsters to become doctors and lawyers. He wanted youngsters to attend and graduate from college instead of putting all of their energy into athletics. He realized that less than 1% of varsity athletes ever signed a professional sports contract. At the same time, he made many attempts to create a system that produced a pipeline of young black players that could use tennis as a vehicle to take them to college. One such program was a collaboration with Nick Bollettieri. The Ashe-Bollettieri “Cities” Tennis Program (ABC) taught tennis to more than 10,000 children. The program attempted to impress upon them the value of preventive health education and the importance of staying in school. Hundreds from this program (which later became the Arthur Ashe Safe Passage Foundation) went on to college on either academic or athletic scholarships. It was one of the programs that made Arthur most proud. Before Arthur died, he got a glimpse of Venus and Serena Williams, two young girls that would, for a short time, take over the reins of leadership after his voice was silenced. But, Arthur would not live to see the emergence of James Blake. James possessed many qualities that would enamor him to the tennis community at large. He is handsome, articulate and Harvard University educated. More importantly, he is thoughtful, non-confrontational and non-threatening. James, if he is so inclined, will be the heir-apparent to Arthur’s throne; the voice of Black tennis. Because, you see, like Arthur, the voice of James Blake is the only one that is likely to resonate with the powers that be.


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BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Black Tennis, A Compilation By Arthur A. Carrington

Black Tennis Pro's Black History Month Black Tennis Archive Compiled by Arthur A.CarringtonBook Cover

Before ever having a substantive conversation with Arthur Carrington, he sent to me what is now my tennis bible; his first compilation, Black Tennis An Archival Collection: 1890-1962. I am so in love with this book and what it represents, thank you so much Arthur.

This compilation is a work that sheds a very necessary light on African American tennis pioneers, tennis clubs and the American Tennis Association National Championships. It has to be virtually impossible to get this wealth of documentation all in one place anywhere else.

I'm going to share a few excerpts from the book here, but you'll have to get your own copy if you want to experience the full effect. Residing inside of this book are priceless historical jewels documenting the rich heritage of Blacks in tennis. (Click on photos for expanded view.)

Black Tennis Pro's Black History Month Black Tennis Archive Compiled by Arthur A.CarringtonArthur A. Carrington

Black Tennis Pro's Black History Month Black Tennis Archive Compiled by Arthur A.Carrington
Black Tennis Pro's Black History Month Black Tennis Archive Compiled by Arthur A.CarringtonNeighborhood clubs network listings circa 1928

Black Tennis Pro's Black History Month Black Tennis Archive Compiled by Arthur A.CarringtonArt Carrington being interviewed after winning the televised ATA National Championship, 1973 with Coach, Sydney Llewellyn.

Black Tennis Pro's Black History Month Black Tennis Archive Compiled by Arthur A.CarringtonBlack Tennis Pro's Black History Month Black Tennis Archive Compiled by Arthur A.Carrington

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Black History Month: Dr. John A. Watson And The Virginia State Senate Resolution That Celebrates His Life


Dr. John A. Watson
As the varsity tennis coach at Virginia Union University for 43 years, John Watson had many accomplishments, but his greatest contributions may have been what he did in his time off: teaching tennis to African-American kids on the Brook Field courts and becoming young Arthur Ashe’s practice partner.

“I probably saved a whole lot of people from going to jail,” he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 1999. “Just by putting a tennis racket in their hands and giving them some sneakers or clothes to wear so they could play, telling them this is your entry to a different life.” Watson, who died in 2006, maintained a close friendship with Ashe, acting as one of his loudest local supporters in Ashe’s final years battling AIDS.

“I’ll tell you about Arthur Ashe,” he recalled to The New York Times in 1992. “When I first remember him he was so eager to succeed that he would get out of bed every morning at 5 o’clock, winter and summer, rain and shine, and before breakfast he would hit 1,000 tennis balls. One thousand. Think about that.”  (Full article)



SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 292


Celebrating the life of John Andrew Watson, Jr. Agreed to by the Senate, March 9, 2006 Agreed to by the House of Delegates, March 10, 2006

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., was born in Greenville, South Carolina, lived a rich and

distinguished life, and full of years at age 85, entered into eternal rest on February 17, 2006; and

WHEREAS, at the age of two, his family left Greenville to settle in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where John Andrew Watson, Jr., was reared with his three brothers and two sisters; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., was educated in the Bethlehem Public Schools, and attended Howard University until he interrupted his studies to serve in the United States Army during World War II from 1943 to 1946, and was present when General George Patton's forces liberated Paris; and

WHEREAS, after the war, John Andrew Watson, Jr., returned to Howard University, where he

earned a bachelor's degree in Romance Languages, and the desire for higher education compelled him to return to France, where he earned the Certificate of Graduate Studies, the equivalent of a master's degree, in Romance Languages from the University of Paris; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., joined the faculty at Virginia Union University in 1948 as an associate professor of Spanish and French, and, for 10 years, he concurrently taught Spanish at Virginia State University; and

WHEREAS, while teaching at Virginia Union University and Virginia State University, John Andrew Watson, Jr., earned a doctorate in Spanish at Catholic University; and

WHEREAS, with impeccable and impressive teaching credentials, John Andrew Watson, Jr., served as a member of the faculty at Howard University and as chairman of his department at Virginia State University for more than 30 years, and also held the position of professor and chairman of the Department of Foreign Languages at Virginia Union University, where he served for more than 57 years until his death; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., was noted for two speeches, and for 58 years he drilled the first speech into his students in the Department of Foreign Languages at Virginia Union University, in which he stated that "the mind learns how to learn when it learns a second language, and if you do not learn a foreign language before you leave college, you have left something behind"; and

WHEREAS, while at Virginia Union University, he discovered a new passion––tennis––which he taught himself to play well enough to become the University's tennis coach in 1959; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., coached tennis at Virginia Union University for 43 years, and from 1959 to 1987, his team never had a losing season; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., delivered his second speech for 46 years each June to tennis players packed into the bleachers at Battery Park before the opening of the Southeastern Open Tennis Tournament, which he had directed since its inception, lecturing and demanding "the highest level of sportsmanship, no bad language, no throwing down your racquet in disgust, and no temper tantrums"; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., demanded that his team and tennis students be sportsmen and more than just tennis players; he had the reputation of stopping grown men during matches and pulling

players off the court for less than good sportsmanship conduct; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., equally well educated in the finer aspects of tennis, achieved a Virginia District #6 ranking, held rankings within the top three senior divisions of the American Tennis Association (ATA), and was a finalist in the senior division of the ATA Championships in Boston; and

WHEREAS, while playing tennis at the old Brook Field courts, the only place in Richmond at one time available to African American athletes, he met nine-year-old Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr., assumed the youth's tennis instruction from his previous coach, and helped the future champion to hone his early court skills; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., coached Arthur Ashe, was his constant practice partner until Arthur Ashe's departure from Richmond at age 15 to train with Dr. Walter Johnson (who also coached Althea Gibson), and is credited with turning Arthur Ashe into one of the world's greatest tennis players; and

WHEREAS, Richmond native Arthur Ashe won 51 titles during his tennis career, became the first African American player named to the United States Davis Cup team, the first African American to win the United States Open, and the first and only African American man to win Wimbledon; and earned respect and a reputation for impeccable sportsmanship, a quality he undoubtedly learned under the tutelage of John Andrew Watson, Jr.; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., also made a name for himself in local tennis competitions;

was among the first four African Americans to play in the Davenport City Tennis Championship when it moved to Byrd Park in 1967; served as the longtime president of the Richmond Racquet Club and first vice president of the American Tennis Association, the oldest African American sports organization in the United States; and was inducted into the Mid Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 1992; and

WHEREAS, he was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and was actively involved in

community service, volunteering for many years as a tennis coach for the Richmond Department of Recreation and Parks; and

WHEREAS, John Andrew Watson, Jr., believed that tennis was a sport for a lifetime, and through the game he touched the lives of many young people, saving many from a path of destruction by introducing them to tennis, a portal to a different life, and secured hundreds of scholarships for them during his tenure as director of the Southeastern Tennis Tournament; and

WHEREAS, he derived great personal satisfaction from knowing that so many children and youths of diverse backgrounds had benefited from his instruction and encouragement, and had developed into productive and successful citizens; and

WHEREAS, the lives of many have been enriched through the life of John Andrew Watson, Jr., and his family, friends, students, and colleagues and the people of Virginia mourn his loss, but will cherish his memory and legacy; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the Senate, the House of Delegates concurring, That the General Assembly hereby note with great sadness the loss of John Andrew Watson, Jr.; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the Senate prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the family of John Andrew Watson, Jr., adopted son and distinguished educator and tennis coach, as an expression of the General Assembly's respect for his memory and gratitude for his service and contributions to the children and youth of this Commonwealth.





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TWITTER FILES: On February 25, 2002, Venus Williams Became The First African-American Tennis Player To Hold The No. 1 Ranking

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TWITTER FILES: Venus Williams To Join Chef And Restaurateur Richard Blais For A Cooking Demonstration At A Taste Of Tennis In Indian Wells



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2019 BRASIL OPEN: Felix Auger-Aliassime Repeats Rio Open Defeat Of Pablo Cuevas

Felix Auger-Aliassime through to 2nd round at the 2019 Brasil Open

(ATP Tour) #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is here to stay. The 18-year-old knocked out a seed in his opening-round match for the second week in a row on Wednesday, beating fifth seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo.

Auger-Aliassime beat Cuevas on Saturday in the Rio Open presented by Claro semi-finals to make his maiden ATP Tour final (l. to Djere). That run propelled him into the Top 100 and to where he sits today, at a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 60.

“It's definitely my breakthrough of my career,” Auger-Aliassime said of his time in the South American country. “As a young guy, it's a big moment whenever you crack the Top 100, and now with the [crowd] support that I'm getting obviously I'm enjoying it more and more, and hopefully I can go far again this week.”

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2019 ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL: Frances Tiafoe Taken Out In Second Round By Mckenzie McDonald

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


American Frances Tiafoe's short run in Acapulco at the 2019 Abierto Mexicano Telcel was ended today in the second round by fellow American Mckenzie McDonald, 6-7(7), 7-5, 6-3.
 

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2019 ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL: Top Seed Sloane Stephens Eliminated by Brazilian Qualifier Beatriz Haddad


ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia beat top-seeded Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday in the Mexican Open for her first victory in seven career matches against players ranked in the top 10.

The fourth-ranked Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open, was making her first appearance in the hardcourt event since winning the 2016 title.

The 22-year-old Haddad Maia will face Monica Puig or Wang Yafan in the quarterfinals.

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TWITTER FILES: Gael Monfils Surges Past Marcos Baghdatis To Enter Quarter Finals In Dubai



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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES: Donald Young, Jr. Keeps Wild Card Hopes Alive As He Defeats Fellow American Thai-Son Kwiatowski

Donald Young, Jr. In 2019 Oracle Challenger Series

 (Oracle Challenger Series) In a three-set tiebreak victory over World No. 267 Thai-Son Kwiatowski, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), World No. 214 Donald Young kepts his wild card hopes very much alive. By securing a second round appearance at Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells, Young is guaranteed at least 5 ranking points which, when added to his current total of 70, places him even with fellow Americans Roy Smith and Reilly Opelka, neither of whom are playing the Indian Wells event.

A seasoned player who has spent 15 years on the ATP Tour, Young, who was once ranked as high as World No. 38, is no stranger to the BNP Paribas Open and hopes to capitalize on Oracle’s unique tournament format to earn himself a wild card.

Up next for Young is number 10 seed and World No. 122, Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES: Taylor Townsend Takes Out Sachia Vickery in Key Matchup on the Road to Indian Wells

American Taylor Townsend

(Oracle Challenger Series) In a highly-anticipated WTA matchup vital to determining who will earn the wild cards into the main draw of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open, No. 9 seed Taylor Townsend took on fellow American Sachia Vickery on day two of play in Indian Wells. It was Townsend who came out on top, besting Vickery in straight sets 7-5, 6-2 in a match that took just over an hour to play.

Townsend is coming off of a strong performance at the Oracle Challenger Series Newport Beach just last month, where she reached the quarterfinals in singles and was a doubles finalist alongside partner Yanina Wickmayer.

Holding 29 points on the Road to Indian Wells Leaderboard coming into the week, she will give herself a chance to earn one of the wild cards into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open if she can have her best Oracle Challenger Series performance yet.

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2019 ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL: No. 1 Seed Sloane Stephens Successfully Flies Through First Match In Just Over An Hour

Sloane Stephens participating in the 2019 Abierto Mexicano Telcel Kick Off

2016 event champion and No. 1 seed Sloane Stephens wasted very little time in accomplishing today's goal of shutting down Pauline Parmentier of France.  In one hour and nine minutes, Sloane moved into the next round with a 6-2, 6-2 win.

In the post match interview, Sloane stated,“I felt good out there. Obviously I like coming back here and playing here. I’m happy to get that first win under my belt after having not played since Australia.

“I’m happy to be playing well and happier to have another chance to get back out on the court.”

Up next, Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia.

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WACK OPINING: Enough Already Tennis Channel - This Lame, "Sloane Stephens Is The WTA Nick Kyrgios" Has Got To Go!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019


Once again, as Sloane Stephens took the court in Acapulco today, Tennis Channel commentators have found it necessary to throw American Sloane Stephens and Australian Nick Kyrgios into a boxed comparison. This is no less than the third occasion that I have heard male commentators on Tennis Channel utilize this 'lil idiom.

With no offense to Nick Kyrgios, if it were being done for the positive, it would be a different story. However, the moment you all make the comparison, you begin running down the issues that you have with Nick Kyrgios and his game. With all the negatives that have been assigned to Kyrgios, to now constantly attribute this same opinion to Sloane Stephens may be interpreted more broadly.

The issues and opinions that you have with Sloane and her game need to be limited to Sloane. Unless there's some new rule establishing grouping players deemed to have like "issues," cut the wack opining.

Oh, and FYI - Wack: not up to the mark : lousy, lame.

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2019 ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL: Frances Tiafoe Awaits Round 2 Opponent After Taking Out Jordan Thompson

American Frances Tiafoe in Acapulco at the 2019 Abierto Mexicano Telcel

Sixth Seed American Frances Tiafoe overcame his first set deficit in round one play of the 2019 Abierto Mexicano Telcel, and came back strong in the second and third rounds to defeat Australian Jordan Thompson 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.


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2019 ABIERTO MEXICANO TELCEL: Doubles Team Of Nicholas Monroe And Miguel Ángel Reyes-Varela Unable To Survive Zverev Brothers

American Nicholas Monroe and Doubles partner Miguel Ángel Reyes-Varela in round one of the 2019 Abierto Mexicano Telcel
Nicholas Monroe
On Monday, February 25, in round one play, Alexander and Mischa Zverev of Germany, had a spectacular presentation in the doubles tournament of Abierto Mexicano Telcel presented by HSBC, defeating in the Caliente Grand Stand, the doubles team of American Nicholas Monroe and Miguel Ángel Reyes-Varela of Mexico.

In a one hour and fourteen minutes match, “Sascha” and Mischa, only needed to break their opponents service in each set to win, in a game full of emotions because the public was always supporting the Mexican Reyes-Varela.

The final score was 6-3, 7-5.


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2019 DUBAI DUTY FREE TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS: Gael Monfils Continues to Showcase His Incredible Talent As He Defeats Marin Cilic

Frenchman Gael Monfils in round one of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Championships

The Frenchman opens his first round of play in the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Championships with the same precision and consistency that he has always utilized at his best. In head to head competition, his opponent, Marin Cilic of Croatia, has never been able to prevail against Monfils in their four meetings. Cilic was defeated today 6-3, 4-6, 6-0.

During one game Monfils makes a point by exhibiting one of his very athletic jumps to smash the ball and the commentator makes a very apropos comment, "That's worth the entrance money, isn't it, alone... just look at this!" Oh, how true. 

Monfils has kicked off a purposeful and productive 2019. Go Gael!!


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TWITTER FILES: Tennis Canada Posts Rousing Congratulations For Félix Auger-Aliassime's Soaring Rise Up The Ranks In Rio "#FelixRising"

Monday, February 25, 2019


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2019 RIO OPEN FINAL: Felix Auger-Aliassime Moves Forward In The Best Way, "I've Done Good Things This Week And I’m Gonna Stick With The Positives”

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime and Laslo Đere during 2019 Rio Open Final Trophy Presentation
RIO OPEN - Laslo Đere, the 23-year-old Serbian, surprised the sensation of the tournament, Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, and won the first title of his career at the Rio Open presented by Claro this Sunday at the Jockey Club Brasileiro, 6/3 7/5, in 2 hours. Very emotional, Đere dedicated the title to his parents, who already passed away.  “I lost my mother seven years ago and I want to dedicate this to her, and also to my dad, I lost him two months ago. My parents have been the reason I’m here today and I hope they are watching me now”.

Félix Auger-Aliassime was disappointed with the loss and how he played, especially in the serving game, but give all the credits to Djere for the win. “Obviously today was tougher, especially my second serve fell apart for some reason and had been serving well for the whole tournament. It’s a little bit disappointing because obviously I was playing for the title and it was big for me. But at the same time I’m not gonna lose to much sleep for this loss. I've done good things this week and I’m gonna stick with the positives.”

The 18-year-old Canadian had the best week of his young career. He received a wild card for the main draw and defeated in the first round the number 2 seed, Italian Fábio Fognini. Then he got past by Christian Garin (7/5, 6/4), Jaume Munar (6/4, 6/3) and in the semifinals the experienced Uruguayan and 2016 champion, Pablo Cuevas (6/3, 3/6, 6/3). “It was one of the most special tournaments that I played. And having Guga in the audience in the final, a great inspiration, it was special. I will continue working and hope to return next year” said Auger-Aliassime.

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INSTAGRAM: Britain's Heather Watson In "Buda(ful)" Pic - Budapest Hungary After Playing In Hungarian Ladies Open Doubles Final

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Buda(ful)

A post shared by Heather Watson (@heatherwatson92) on



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