By Julie Compton, NBCBLK

Katrina Adams is the first African-American president and CEO of the United States Tennis Association. She wants to make sure she is not the last.

The girl from Chicago’s West Side fell in love with the game watching her older brothers play tennis at summer camp in 1975. The adults told her she was too young to play, but the then 6-year-old convinced them otherwise.

“I hit [the ball] over the net and I was hooked,” Adams told NBC News.

The Northwestern University graduate spent 12 years on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour, ranking as high as 67 in the world and No. 8 in doubles. Her best Grand Slam singles result was in Wimbledon in 1988, where she reached the fourth round.

When asked about the challenges she’s faced as a black woman in tennis, Adams appeared unfazed.
“I’m asked that question often,” she said.

Adams said her friends on tour and doubles partners didn’t look like her, but that she never experienced racism. She said her father, a public school teacher, kept a protective eye on her.

“I would assume that my dad perhaps probably took the brunt end of that for me if or when there were occasions that it was apparent, but I was very fortunate,” she said.

Being one of the only black girls on the court did not deter Adams. If tennis taught her anything, it’s that you have to work hard. You have to learn how to deal with your emotions. How to deal with adversity.

When asked about the challenges she’s faced as a black woman in tennis, Adams appeared unfazed.
“I’m asked that question often,” she said.

Adams said her friends on tour and doubles partners didn’t look like her, but that she never experienced racism. She said her father, a public school teacher, kept a protective eye on her.

“I would assume that my dad perhaps probably took the brunt end of that for me if or when there were occasions that it was apparent, but I was very fortunate,” she said.

Being one of the only black girls on the court did not deter Adams. If tennis taught her anything, it’s that you have to work hard. You have to learn how to deal with your emotions. How to deal with adversity.

Read the entire story here.

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