Donald Hunt of ESPN is reporting that the USTA made history this past month by hiring Katrina Adams as the first African-American chairman, chief executive officer and president. The nonprofit tennis organization, which promotes and develops tennis for young people, hired Adams, a former professional tennis player, who is also the youngest person ever in the top position.
“Adams, 46, understands the sacrifices made for her to reach this level. She previously worked as the first vice president of the USTA in 2013-14. In addition, she was vice president in 2011-12 and from 2005 to 2010 served three straight two-year terms as the director at large. There aren’t many African-Americans in high-profile positions in tennis, but Adams has a chance to put her stamp on the game. Moreover, she knows the USTA inside and out.
‘It’s exciting,’ said Adams, who was appointed to her position in January. ‘I think, for me, it’s more about really going after my goals and trying to make a difference in this sport and in this country.'”
Adams also serves as the executive director of the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program in New York City. In both roles, Adams is able to reach inner-city kids to get them involved with tennis at an early age. A Chicago native, Adams learned to play tennis while tagging along with her brothers who played at a Boys Club. The rest is history.
Adams played high school tennis and was a scholastic state champion in Illinois her junior and senior years. Hunt reports:
“She [Adams] went on to play some outstanding tennis at Northwestern University. In 1986 and ’87, she carried the Wildcats to the Big Ten championship. In 1986, Adams was presented with the ITA Rookie of the Year, and she received All-American honors. In 1987, Adams was the first African-American doubles champion.
After her college career, Adams played 12 years on the WTA Tour. She attained the No. 67 ranking in singles and No. 8 in doubles. She won 20 double titles on the pro tour.”
Adams is a broadcaster on the Tennis Channel. She works as an analyst for the CBS Sports Network’s first all-female sports show and is a former USTA national coach (1999-2002).
Read more at ESPN.