The chairman, president and CEO of the U.S. Tennis Association has overseen several major projects, including renovations at the U.S. Open and a national tennis campus
Katrina Adams has accomplished many firsts at the U.S. Tennis Association, including being the first African-American, first former player and youngest person to be chairman, president and CEO. She also recently became the first person to be reappointed to a second consecutive term. Adams had a 12-year pro career that saw her ranked as high as No. 67 in singles and No. 8 in doubles. She then served on the WTA board and WTA’s Players Association before joining the USTA board in 2005. During her time at the helm, she has overseen $500 million in improvements to the U.S. Open and construction of a new tennis center with 100 courts set to open in Orlando.
In this interview with SportsTravel’s Jason Gewirtz, conducted live on stage at the TEAMS ’16 Conference & Expo, Adams discusses her start in the sport, her long-term goals for the USTA and the future of professional player development.
How did you first get involved in tennis?
I grew up in Chicago and I started playing tennis at the age of 6. I kind of stumbled upon the sport. My brothers were playing in the summer program that was headed by the Boys Club then—it wasn’t a Boys and Girls Club as it is now. But it was for kids 9 to 18 years old and I was 6. I was a tag-along sister and both my brothers actually hated the sport, but I was forced to be there. I would sit outside the fence for two weeks saying that I could do better than them. When I finally got on the court, I hit the ball and fell in love with it from the moment that I struck that first ball. I was lucky enough that one of the teaching pros for the summer program thought I had potential and took me under his wing. So I was fortunate.
To read the rest of this Q&A in the digital edition of SportsTravel, please click here.