A century ago, when the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association formalized a policy barring African-American players, the American Tennis Association – the ATA – was born.
It had to be born.
As it celebrates its 100th anniversary, the oldest African-American sporting organization in the U.S. has ambitious goals.
And Serena and Venus Williams may play a major role in helping the organization cement its legacy.
The ATA wants to set down permanent roots to help ensure African-American kids get every opportunity to thrive in the sport.
To that end, it plans to build a new facility in south Florida. The location, subject to municipal procedures, is set for the city of Miramar’s regional park. The complex, to be called the ATA Tennis and Education Complex, will house the association’s relocated offices as well as a museum.
And it also will include a national training centre for promising young African-American players. The first major news is the imminent announcement that the first inductee into the ATA’s new Hall of Fame will be … Richard Williams.
There will be a stadium court in the middle of the proposed new complex. And in appreciation of the court being named after their father, Tennis.Life has learned that daughters Venus and Serena intend to endow the project with a hefty sum – $1 million.
Now 75, Williams did the seemingly impossible when he brought daughters Serena and Venus from the pitted courts of Compton, California to sporting immortality.The first two phases will cost about $7 million. First will be tennis courts and the ATA offices. Phase 2 will add more courts, and the museum.“Not only will it be a permanent home, but it also will help the development of the city,” Tucker said. In addition to being an ATA member, Tucker also is vice-president of multicultural business development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The organization has been trying for decades to make this a reality. There were plans even as far back as 20 years ago in south Florida.
(Written by Tennis Life)