The International Tennis Hall of Fame has launched its brand new digital exhibition, Breaking the Boundaries of Black Tenniswhich highlights the breakthroughs, evolution and impact of black tennis players and influential contributors to the sport globally.
The initial Breaking Boundaries launch includes 70 people representing 19 nations, and will continue to grow with many more inspiring stories to be added on an ongoing basis. Fans are also encouraged to submit their own suggestions for athletes and contributors to be included via a form included in the exhibit.
Expo visitors can browse athlete and contributor profiles by navigating an interactive map grouped by region. Breaking Boundaries features biographical information and interactive profiles that highlight on-court accomplishments and the lasting impact of players’ successes on the sport of tennis.
“Because of what so many of these inspiring people have accomplished on and off the pitch, I have had the opportunity to walk in their footsteps and achieve all that I have through their courage,” Katrina said. Adams, ITHF Black Tennis History Chair. Committee and Past Chairman and President of the USTA. “I am truly grateful for the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s commitment to preserving this history, celebrating its success and inspiring the next generation of black players.”
Breaking Boundaries is the latest step in the ITHF’s ongoing initiative to educate and shine a light on black tennis history. In 2021, the ITHF presented the Breaking the Barriers: The ATA and Black Tennis Pioneers digital exhibit to showcase the history of black tennis in the United States. The new exhibition serves as a global extension of this concept, highlighting many of the pioneers included in Breaking the Barriers and drawing direct lines to the achievements of future generations.
The exhibit was driven by the extensive research and contributions of the ITHF’s Black History Committee, which includes scholars, former players and world tennis experts: Roxanne Aaron, Katrina Adams, Leslie Allen, Lakshman Charanjiva, Bob Davis, Matt Leipzig, Ismail El Shafei, Sara Fornaciari, Nicolas Pereira, Andrea Rice, Chanda Rubin, Ken Shropshire, Damion Thomas, Jon Vegosen and MaliVai Washington.
“It was a pure labor of love, highlighting the importance of black tennis history on a global front,” Adams said. “I am grateful for the committee’s passion and vision to bring this to life.”
In addition to Hall of Fame legends like Arthur Ashe, Althea Gibson and Dr Robert Johnson, pioneers who broke down barriers to black tennis participation are also featured in Breaking Boundaries, such as African greats Tony Mmoh and Nduka Odizor of Nigeria, ATP Tour player Jo-Wilfred Tsonga of France, who has been ranked in the top 5 in the world, current WTA top 100 player Heather Watson of the United Kingdom, and the first South American to referee a Grand Slam, Carlos Bernardes of Brazil.
Profiles of these pioneers feature in the exhibit alongside today’s stars who directly followed in their footsteps, including today’s superstars: Venus and Serena Williams from the United States, Félix Auger-Aliassime from Canada, Gaël Monfils from France and Naomi Osaka from Japan. Also featured are the inspiring stories of world No. 1 Ash Barty and Hall of Famer Evonne Goolagong, who come from Australian Aboriginal heritage.
Breaking Boundaries in Black Tennis is now available online at breakingboundaries.tennisfame.com.