TULSA, Okla. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association, University of Tulsa and Tulsa Sports Commission announced at a press conference on Monday, October 8, 2018, that beginning in 2019, the ITA Women’s All-American Championships will join the ITA Men’s All-American Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with tournament matches taking place at multiple sites, including the Michael D. Case Tennis Center and the new Case Tennis Center at LaFortune Park, recent winner of the USTA’s 2018 National Facility of the Year.
“The ITA All-American Championships possess a rich history in our sport. Many outstanding former champions have used their ITA All-American Championships victories to springboard them to amazing collegiate and professional careers,” said ITA Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Russell. “We are excited to work alongside the University of Tulsa and Tulsa Sports Commission to expand the ITA All-American Championships and aggregate our sport to a dual-gender event. Having the women and men competing in the same location opens the door to new and exciting ways of promoting our outstanding student-athletes and coaches, while also shining a light on Tulsa as a truly great American tennis city. We look forward to putting on a major event of great distinction for our participants, coaches and fans.”
“The opportunity to host both the women’s and men’s ITA All-American Championships is tremendous for our city and University,” said Tulsa’s Senior Associate Athletic Director, Director of Tennis and Men’s Head Coach, Vince Westbrook. “Tulsans have seen the top men’s collegiate student-athletes each fall for the past 14 years of hosting the men’s championship, and now will have the chance to see the best of women’s college tennis as well.”
The ITA All-American Championships feature the top Division I collegiate tennis players vying for singles and doubles ITA National Championships. Qualifying rounds are contested, allowing competitors the opportunity to play their way into the Main Draw, which will feature draw sizes of 64 (singles) and 32 (doubles) for the men and women.
The University of Tulsa has served as the host institution for the ITA Men’s All-American Championships for 14 consecutive years, while the ITA Women’s All-American Championships enjoyed a 34-year run at the Riviera Country Club. Coupling the two championships together will make Tulsa the epicenter for premier Division I fall tennis competition during a near two-week stretch of the fall collegiate tennis schedule.
“As a result of the collaborative relationships we’ve established with the city of Tulsa and area partners like the University of Tulsa, Tulsa’s tourism scene is generating great economic impact throughout the region,” said Ray Hoyt, president of Tulsa Regional Tourism. “Joining the ITA Women’s All-American Championships with the ITA Men’s All-American Championships perpetuates the narrative that describes Tulsa as the premier collegiate tennis destination in the country, and we couldn’t be more proud to own that brand distinction.”
What They’re Saying:
“Adding the ITA Women’s All-American Championships to Tulsa’s collegiate sports scene affirms Tulsa’s brand as a welcoming and inclusive sports destination,” said Vince Trinidad, executive director of the Tulsa Sports Commission. “The ITA Women’s All-American Championships will add more than 500 room nights and nearly 1,000 more attendees in our market, which affirms that we are achieving our goals to actively recruit the best collegiate sports championships in the country.”
“This is going to be great for the All-American Championships,” said Oklahoma State women’s tennis head coach Chris Young. “Tulsa has done an outstanding job hosting national college tennis events and will continue to do so with the Women’s and Men’s ITA All-American Championships. We are excited to have this event now in the middle of the country, a central location for everyone to travel to in the fall season. I know it’s going to be exciting joining the men’s programs and creating another unique event for college tennis.”
“We’re excited to be able to host both the women’s and men’s ITA All-American Championships in the fall,” said University of Tulsa Vice President and Director of Athletics, Dr. Derrick Gragg. “The Michael D. Case Tennis Center and the success of our tennis programs have heightened the interest in college tennis in the Tulsa community, and the hosting of both these championships is further recognition that the city of Tulsa has become synonymous with collegiate tennis.”
ITA Men’s and Women’s All-American Championships History
-Past winners of the Saint Francis ITA Men’s All-American Singles Championship include: John Isner (Georgia, 2005); James Blake (Harvard, 1998); Bob Bryan (Stanford, 1997) and MaliVai Washington (Michigan, 1988). Al Parker (Georgia, 1989-90) is the only back-to-back singles champion in Saint Francis ITA Men’s All-American Championship history.
-A doubles team from the SEC has won 7 of the past 14 Saint Francis ITA Men’s All-American Championship titles, including four of the last seven. Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese (Tennessee, 2013-14) are the only back-to-back doubles champion in Saint Francis ITA Men’s All-American Championship history.
-Notable former Riviera ITA Women’s All-American Singles Championship winners include Francesca Di Lorenzo (2016, Ohio State); Danielle Collins (2015, Virginia); Jamie Loeb (2013, North Carolina); Nicole Gibbs (2011 doubles, Stanford); Irina Falconi (2009 singles and 2008 doubles, Georgia Tech); Raquel Kops-Jones (2003, California) and Jill Craybas (1995, Florida).
-Suzi Babos (2006-07, California); Zuzana Lesenarova (1998-99, San Diego); Paloma Collantes (1991-92, Ole Miss) and Sandra Birch (1989-1990, Stanford) are the only repeat winners in Women’s All-American history.
-Hillary Barte (2010, Stanford); Jessica Lehnhoff (2001, Florida); Zuzana Lesenarova (1999, San Diego) and Sandra Birch (1990, Stanford) won the singles and doubles championships in the same year.
About the ITA
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees women’s and men’s varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men’s and women’s varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com , like the ITA on Facebook or follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram.