The USTA National Campus hosted the 101st American Tennis Association’s (ATA) National Championships from July 29 through Aug. 4. This was the first time the USTA was given the honor of holding the event. There were a little over 50 divisions. More than 500 tennis players ranging from 10 to 80 years of age came to participate from all over the country.
A press release sent out by USTA stated the event has grown since it began in 1916. The media statement reads, “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. Held in Baltimore, the inaugural Championships included just three events, including men’s and women’s singles and men’s doubles. Today, the tournament has grown to include more than 30 competitive categories, with hundreds of competitors.”
The USTA national manager of tennis events, Shelly Licorish, said USTA was very excited to have them on the campus and that the players were just as pleased to be there. Ezekiel Yardoi, a 14-year-old from Boston, visited with his tennis club Sportsman Tennis. “This is the first ATA tournament that I’ve been to … and this is my first tournament ever, too,” said Ezekiel.
A few highlights from the matches were from Kent Hunter and Azaria Hayes (Hunter from Los Angeles and Hayes from Pinole, Calif.). They won the boys’ and girls’ 18s singles titles.
Caroline Dolehide, an Orlando resident, landed herself a direct entry into the main draw of the US Open. The USTA press release states, “The 19-year-old Dolehide peaked at a career-high ranking of No. 102 in the world following Wimbledon, where she qualified for the main draw. This will be Dolehide’s US Open main-draw debut.”
This is not the last time the USTA will be hosting the ATA National Championships. The partnership between ATA and USTA will allow the facility to hold the event every three to four years.
To see all of the results from the ATA Championships, go to tennislink.usta.com and click on the “results” tab toward the middle of the page.