American Tennis Association

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Not to be confused with United States Tennis Association.

The American Tennis Association (ATA) is based in Largo, Maryland, and is the oldest African-American sports organization in the United States.[1] The core of the ATA's modern mission continues to be promoting tennis as a sport for black people and developing junior tennis players, but the ATA welcomes people of all backgrounds.

The ATA was founded in Washington, D.C. on November 30, 1916 by a group of African-American businessmen, college professors and physicians as the black equivalent to the whites-only United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA), later renamed the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

The American Tennis Association continued to be the primary governing body for African-American tennis in the United States until the desegregation of the USLTA in the 1950s, after Althea Gibson became the first African-American player to compete in the U.S. National Championships at Forest Hills, NY.

The first ATA National Championships, which consisted of men's and women's singles and men's doubles, were held at Baltimore's Druid Hill Park in August 1917. Every year in August, several thousand players now compete in more than 50 different events in various locations.


  1. ^ "Grand Slam: history of blacks in tennis - Special Section: 1994 Black Enterprise/Pepsi-Cola Golf and Tennis Challenge". Black Enterprise. September 1994. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 

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