Tuesday, December 11, 2018

J. Donald Budge History Maker

A few years ago before he died, I had the occasion to meet the great tennis champion J.Donald Budge at a tennis awards banquet. He was getting an award and I was receiving an award for the Black Tennis Foundation of Philadelphia Inc. During my remarks I spoke about his breaking racial barriers by playing an exhibition match in 1940 against Jimmie McDaniel at the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club in New York. The mecca of black tennis at that time.  McDaniel was arguably the top negro player of that era.

Budge was the first man to win what is known today as the "Grand Slam" of tennis. The four major championship events Austrailian,, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year at the age of 23, becoming the first and youngest to do so. A record that still stands today. Budge won the match 6-1, 6-2. When I mentioned McDaniel playing him in my remarks, Budge shouted out "he was a hell of a player." Throughout history there have always been people willing to stand up for equal rights and humane treatment for all people.

This was truly one of the highlights of my long involvement in the sport of tennis.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The USTA is not Color Blind

     As we enter Black History Month it is clear that we must remain vigilant in the continued quest for equality for people of color. This past September (2012) the USTA created another controversy when they suggested that world number one 16 year old Girls singles champion Taylor Townsend skip the US Open event for which she qualified for and work on conditioning. She is being trained under the USTA Player Development Program.
     Initially they said that If she did not withdraw from the event that they would not pay for her expenses. Her mother wold have none of this and came up with the expense money for her to compete in the tournament. She got to the quarter finals in singles and won the doubles event with her partner. How could she reach being number one without stamina and conditioning? Oh she happens to be African American. In a later statement after the tournament Patrick McEnroe, General Manager of the program issued a statement that  this was not the case and USTA under  Player Development would be picking up her expenses for the tournament. 

     Having worked on the USTA Minority Participation Committee at its inception in the early 1990's now changed to Multicultural Participation Committee, I can identify with some of the archaic and out of date thinking of some long time entrenched closed minded people within the organization. As in other parts of society African Americans continue to be undervalued, underestimated and marginalized.

Taylor Townsend
     Early in her career I remember an over weight and slow afoot Lindsay Davenport enjoying early success as  Girl's Junior Champion. Their was no suggestion that she skip big tournaments because of her condition. In a competitive situation I thought the adage of "Survival of the fittest" determines the out come of competitive sports. Who determines if some one is fit? Does body type enter the picture on the Women's Pro Tour?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Crop of African American Tennis players invade Pro Tour

Sloane Stephens
A new crop of African American females have invaded the pro tennis tour. Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, and Taylor Townsend to name a few. Sloane Stephens just ended an incredible run at the season's first Gland Slam event, the 2013 Australian Open, where she won a quarter final match against a ailing and sub-par Serena Williams and lost in the semi finals to world number one Victoria Azarenka 6 - 1, 6- 4. Leading 5-4 in the second set Azarenka took a 10 minute injury time out leaving the court on Stephens turn to serve. Although allowed in the rules it was very suspect as it appeared that she was coming  apart with nerves. Sloane learned her first lesson in gamesmanship. In a post match interview Azarenka admitted to a case of nerves and anxiety. Madison Keys made it to the second round in the same tournament, her first Grand Slam event.

Madison Keys
Taylor Townsend
Taylor Townsend just 16 years old is the number one female junior in the world. The future looks very bright on the female side. When will the male African Americans enter the scene? The last to show promise Donald Young seems to be in a serious funk after a disappointing 2012. Time is not on his side as he is now in his 20's and the window for success is closing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bernie Chavis Book Signing

I will be attending the annual Black History & Culture Showcase Saturday and Sunday April 7-8,2012 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center 11: am to 7:00 pm both days.. This event commemorates and celebrates the African American experience. It offers living and past African American history from every walk of life in telling and showing the African American diaspora. I will be on hand to autograph copies of my book "The Games of Tennis" An African American Journey. This event attracts thousands annually. For additional information visit the website at www.blackhistoryshowcase.org

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Black Tennis Foundation of Philadelphia, Inc. Donates Trophies to Yeadon Delaware Country, PA. Tennis Program

Philadelphia, PA. - 08/15/2011 - Bernard A. Chavis, President/CEO of the Black Tennis Foundation, donates tennis trophies to Yeadon Borough Mayor Dolores Jones Butler on behalf of Corneilia "Sis" Penn, a long time player and supporter of the sport. Yeadon is in the process of planning to build a multi-purpose recreation facility. The USTA is one of the partnering organizations assisting with the project.

The site of the proposed facility is the old Yeadon Swim Club property. A summer tennis program for youth is being conducted on the two existing tennis courts by local instructor Jeffrey Harmon. Mayor Butler said, "the trophy donation is part of many positive efforts and gifts forthcoming by supporters of the project.

Kitty Perrin, USTA/MS Tennis Services Representative has also been supportive in offering tennis equipment and expertise for the USTA 10 and under tennis initiative. When completed the multi-purpose facility will serve surrounding communities including Lansdowne, Darby, and Alden. The facility will have a total of 12 tennis courts, 4 indoor and 8 outdoor courts and occupy part of the 6 acre tract that once housed the Yeadon Swim Club.