Ojai Tennis Tournament
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Ojai Tennis Tournament
Ojai Tennis Tournament
Tournament information
SponsorThe Ojai Valley Tennis Club[2]
Founded1896; 126 years ago (1896)
LocationOjai, California
United States
VenueLibbey Park and other locations
SurfaceHard[1]
WebsiteThe Ojai

The Ojai Tennis Tournament, often shortened to The Ojai, is an annual tennis tournament in Ventura County, California, headquartered at Libbey Park in downtown Ojai, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Los Angeles.[3][4] The event, first held in 1896, is the oldest and largest amateur tennis tournament in the United States held in one location.[5][6][7]

Overview

The Ojai Tennis Tournament is one of North America's largest amateur tennis tournaments, with 1,500 tennis players, up from the 12 players in the initial tournament in 1896 and 500 entrants in 1949.[8][9][10] The tournament is played over several days throughout the Ojai Valley and elsewhere in western Ventura County, with final matches and marquee events held at Libbey Park in Ojai.[4] Venues include parks, schools, private clubs, hotels, and even private residences.

As of 2021, the event features 27 divisions, including men's and women's open divisions and several dedicated to collegiate and youth players.[2] The Pac-12 Conference conducts its team championships at The Ojai, and the California Community College Athletic Association additionally crowns singles and doubles champions. The Ojai also features CIF Southern Section high school boys' singles and doubles competition as the tournament falls within the association's boys' tennis season. Other divisions include NCAA Division III athletes, men's independent college players (i.e., from non-Pac-12 four-year institutions), and juniors.[11]

History

The Ojai Tennis Tournament can trace its beginnings to 1887, when Sherman Day Thacher arrived in the Ojai Valley to pursue citrus farming. To raise funds for his enterprise, he started tutoring students on his 160-acre (65 ha) ranch known as Casa de Piedra. With the later arrival of his brother William Thacher, a collegiate tennis champion at Yale, the ranch became home to the valley's first tennis court in 1892 and hosted Ojai's first tennis tournament the following year. (Casa de Piedra evolved into The Thacher School, the oldest boarding school in California still in operation.) William Thacher established the Ojai Valley Tennis Club in 1895. The inaugural Ojai Tennis Tournament matched the Ojai Valley and Ventura tennis clubs, with the pool of eligible entrants later expanding to include neighboring counties and eventually all of California.[4] By 1912, it was the largest amateur tennis tournament in the US with 272 competitors in 12 events.[12]

The Ojai was forced to move to the YMCA courts in Los Angeles because of World War I and two big fires in 1918, and to Santa Barbara in 1919.[13]

In 1922, tournament entrance fees were $1 ($16 in current dollar terms), and grounds admission (including afternoon tea) was $.50 ($8 in current dollar terms) on the first day and $.75 ($12 in current dollar terms) on the last day.[10] In 1924, an outbreak of a cattle disease called hoof-and-mouth disease led to a halt to travel, and the consequent cancellation of the tournament.[4][14]

In 2018, for the first time its history, the Ojai Tennis Tournament offered equal prize money to men and women in its Open divisions.[15]

The Ojai Tennis Tournament has been canceled seven times since its inception. In addition to its 1924 cancellation, the tournament was not held from 1943 to 1946 because of World War II.[2] The Ojai was again canceled in 2020[2][16] and 2021[11] due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notable participants in the Ojai Tennis Tournament include May Sutton, Bill Tilden, Tony Trabert, Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Jimmy Connors, Tracy Austin, Lindsay Davenport, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, and the Bryan twins.[4][6][17]

References

  1. ^ "The Ojai 118th Annual Open Tournament". usta.com.
  2. ^ a b c d Ledin, Loren (March 16, 2020). "The Ojai Tennis Tournament, scheduled for April 22-26, canceled because of coronavirus". Ventura County Star. Gannett Co., Inc. Retrieved 2021.
  3. ^ Pruitt, Sarah (August 22, 2018). "U.S. Open Honors Past Champ Joe Hunt, Killed During WWII". History.com.
  4. ^ a b c d e Doyle, Alicia (April 27, 2017). "ONE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN YEARS AT THE OJAI | One-of-a-kind tennis tournament returns". VCReporter.
  5. ^ Richard Hoye, Tom Moore, Craig Walker (2010). Ojai
  6. ^ a b Curley, Joe (April 22, 2019). "Former Weil Academy star Max Cressy returns to The Ojai as UCLA's top singles player". Ventura County Star.
  7. ^ "Alexa Ryngler, Matthew Tsolakyan take Ojai tennis crowns". Los Angeles Daily News. April 24, 2016.
  8. ^ The Smith Alumnae Quarterly, Volume 40, Issue 3 (1949).
  9. ^ John Murphy (April 30, 2019). "Area boys tennis players get a taste of prestigious Ojai tournament". Daily Bulletin.
  10. ^ a b "A Unique California Meeting; What they do at Ojai Valley and the Orgy of Tennis they have - the Nursery of Famous Players," American Lawn Tennis, Volume 16 (July 1, 1922).
  11. ^ a b "The Ojai tennis tournament is canceled for the second straight year due to COVID-19". Ventura County Star. Gannett Co., Inc. February 19, 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  12. ^ Lynn Yoakum Taylor (2014). Ojai Valley School
  13. ^ Pratt, Steve (April 27, 2000). "The Jai Life". LATimes.com.
  14. ^ "Tournament Facts | The Ojai". The Ojai Tennis Tournament.
  15. ^ Buttitta, Bob (April 28, 2018). "Annual Ojai Tennis Tournament celebrated as 'Year of the Women'". Ventura County Star.
  16. ^ Dan Albano (March 16, 2020). "Prestigious Ojai tennis tournament canceled amid coronavirus concerns". Orange County Register.
  17. ^ "The Thacher School," The Grotonian, Volumes 22-23 (October 1905).

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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