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The USTA and Katrina Adams—leadership through diversity and inclusion 

VINCENT DAVIS | 8/31/2017, 11:58 a.m.
Less than 10 minutes after Katrina Adams, the chairwoman, CEO and president of the United States Tennis Association handed the ...
Katrina Adams Bill Moore photo

Less than 10 minutes after Katrina Adams, the chairwoman, CEO and president of the United States Tennis Association handed the championship trophy and a $3.5 million check to Stan Wawrinka, and runner-up prizes to Novak Djokovic, after long hours of glad handing and tending to USTA business on their final day of the U.S. Open last Septenber, we accidently met on a back stairway entrance of Arthur Ashe Stadium on the way back to the media center. “Let’s go,” Adams said, keeping the commitment that she’d made earlier in the day to be interviewed. 

A former professional tennis player from Chicago, a two-time All-American, Adams, 49, is the first USTA president to serve two consecutive two-year terms in the organization’s 135-year history. Adams, who co-hosted a symposium on diversity last night (Wednesday) with Robin Roberts, the ABC television morning news personality, and tennis great Billie Jean King, in addition to the several fabulous USTA events already held, several spectacular tennis matches (Maria Sharapova  versus Simona Halep and Roger Federer versus Frances Tiafoe) that have already been played the first two days of this tournament substantially increased attendance during last week’s preliminary matches, and a record-breaking opening day attendance Monday, 61,839, also made history in 2015 by becoming the first former professional tennis player and the first African-American to become president of the USTA. 

The focus and theme of the symposium is to highlight the 45th anniversary of the Title IX Statute of the Education Amendment of 1972 and to bring a better understanding of how diversity and inclusion supports business success in the sports industry. 

Adams, Roberts and King, who’s been greatly honored by the USTA by the naming of their prestigious 46.5-acre tennis facility in Fushing Meadows, Queens after her, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, one of the largest in the world, will discuss the historic impact that Title IX has had on women in sports, on and off the playing field. The event is the sixth annual conference of Diversity and Inclusion in Sports. This year is the USTA’s first time hosting the conference and the meetings being held yesterday and today (Thursday) in midtown Manhattan.

“I wouldn’t have achieved the heights I’ve accomplished on the court, or in my current role in leading USTA without Title IX,” stated Adams, who earned $1.2 million during her years of playing.

Adams further stated, “I am delighted and honored to lead the panel on Title IX and share the stage with two of the most iconic women in sports and broadcasting.” She noted the impact of the amendment and how it helped to foster a path that has led to opportunities for American women to play any sport that they choose without fear of discrimination. It’s best known for its impact on high school and collegiate athletics.

Before the enactment of Title IX, women were not given the same opportunities men were given, such as sports scholarships and funding. They received approximately 1 percent of an allotted budget. After Title IX’s enactment, there was a 600 percent increase in the number of women playing college sports.