HISTORY

​Our members are committed to preserving interest and enthusiasm for this sport through education, opportunities and accessibility to all who wish to participate, either as active players or enthusiastic spectators. Three tournaments for amateur players are organized and administered by FCTC each year. These tournaments allow competitive play for tennis players of all skill levels.


Recruitment and education programs target young players from the inner city who may have difficulty finding opportunities to play. Our coaching staff provides instruction in technique, rules of play and practice sessions. A series of tournaments provide opportunities for these young players to compete against other juniors. At FCTC, we have found that children enrolled in our programs develop skills that assist in both social and academic development. Over 90% of FCTC children go on to pursue higher education, with many of them receiving some amount of financial support.

Anyone who can hold a racquet can play this game. Our goal at FCTC is to take our passion for tennis and make it available to anyone who wishes to share!


TENNIS IN CLEVELAND; AN ABBREVIATED HISTORY

Tennis clubs were organized in Cleveland during the 1880s. The first identifiable location for the sport was on the Billings front lawn on the south side of Euclid Avenue and what is now East 88th Street. Organized tennis began with the formation of the East End and Buckeye clubs in the Euclid-Willson Avenue (East 55th Street) area. The East End Club continued to flourish, adding new courts on Carnegie west of East 77th Street, where the Ohio State Tennis Open was held prior to 1914, along with the intercity tournaments. Over 90% of Cleveland tennis players belonged to outdoor racquet clubs, which included the Edgewater, Nela Park, East End, General Electric, Lakewood, University and Cleveland Yacht Clubs. The Cleveland Tennis and Racquet Club, an outgrowth of the East End Tennis and Racquet Club, was established at Kemper and Fairhill Roads in 1923. It was taken over by the Cleveland Skating Club in 1937.

Following World War II, most of the public and semiprivate outdoor clubs disappeared as the residential and commercial areas of the city expanded. In their place, indoor “suburban” clubs appeared and additional tennis activity occurred on local golf club courses.

The preceding is an abbreviated history of how this game came to be played in Cleveland. The stark reality of it is that this “genteel” pastime was heavily segregated at its beginning and, but for a few exceptions would remain so for over fifty years. Problems faced by those who wanted to play this game were not only limited to the economic problems of affording the equipment, affording the lessons, and other fees associated with the sport, but with the racial discrimination that prohibited African Americans from playing on certain courts and from participating in certain tournaments.

Shortly after the turn of the century, intercity competitions started up among newly-formed black tennis social clubs – a tradition that remains a part of African-American tennis today.

In 1912, the Forest City Tennis Club was formed in Cleveland by a group of African American professional men who challenged the racist exclusionary practices of other clubs, by forming their own.. The group grew and later began traveling to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Louisville, Columbus, Detroit, Chicago and Buffalo to compete. It eventually grew to include women and children in an annual tournament and opened its membership to all persons regardless of race, creed, or color. By 1946, an annual tournament rotated between Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit and became known as the Tri-City Tournament.

In 1968, the Forest City Tennis Club was chartered as a non-profit organization by the State of Ohio, with a mission of promoting and fostering amateur tournaments and matches and providing education opportunities for the game of tennis.


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