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AMERICAN TENNIS ASSOCIATION (ATA) AND GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU (GFLCVB) SALUTES TENNIS LEGEND/COACH RICHARD WILLIAMS

The American Tennis Association (ATA) has selected coach extraordinaire Richard Williams, who guided daughters Serna and Venus into unparalleled international success, to be the first inductee into the ATA Tennis Hall of Fame.

Ceremonies will be held August 2nd in Baltimore, MD, as part of the ATA's 100th National Championship before the country's oldest African-American sports organization relocates its permanent home to the city of Miramar in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

"The planned ATA Tennis and Education Complex will become another cultural anchor in the development of the destination, joining hidden treasures such as the African American Research library and Cultural Center, the old Dillard Museum, and the Urban League Empowerment Center,"

pointed out Albert Tucker, vice president for Multicultural Business Development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The ATA celebrated its Centennial in the area in 2016 and the CVB is hosting the Hall of Fame induction gala.

The partnership between tennis and tourism has grown steadily since 1997 when amateur players converged in Fort Lauderdale for the ATA National Tournaments for the first time.  Seven successful tournaments held annually in August have drawn over 30,000 players, tennis enthusiasts and vacationing families, created an economic impact of close to $10 million, and increased national visibility for the educational components of the ATA.

Since its founding in 1906, the organization has provided training and promoted the standards of the game at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  Greater Fort Lauderdale will become the home to the next generation of promising young players.

Plans for a youth training facility in the culturally-diverse community of Miramar will include a repository of information on HBCUs and the Caribbean Region as well as a 1,500-seat center curt for World Team Tennis and level one tournaments, administrative center, and a house museum saluting tennis legends and future Hall of Famers like Richard Williams.

"The ATA is an addition to the South Florida landscape that will bring together the rich history of Black tennis in one central location and the potential economic impact on the city of Miramar is tremendous," said City Manager Kathleen Woods-Richardson.  "We look forward to seeing Miramar in the forefront of a national effort to promote, preserve and perpetuate tennis history and education."

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