So, what was happening in Wisconsin 80 years ago? On the tennis scene that is...
Let's see...that would have been 1927
...Col. H. G. Peterson became the 1st President of the Wisconsin Tennis Association
....Wood racquets were the "in" thing.
...the WTA was a District of the Western Tennis Association (now the Midwest Section)
...and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) was the United States Lawn Tennis
History of Wisconsin Tennis Association
by H. G. Peterson (written in 1967)
as published in the Wisconsin Tennis Association 2002-2003 Official Guide
75th Anniversary Edition.
It was 1925 when a group of tennis enthusiasts in Oshkosh (Wisconsin) decided to reorganize the old Oshkosh Tennis Club. Four concrete tennis courts were available, however, they were not in very good condition and needed to be resurfaced. There, the first order of business was to obtain funds to cover the resurfacing. It was also planned to build a clubhouse where showers and lockers would be available to members and guests that we anticipated would visit our club from time to time. We were able to resurface the courts the first year and the second year we built the clubhouse. In the meantime, the membership was growing and a lot of tennis was being played by all members. It was felt that something should be done to invite our-of-town competition. Plans were formulated to schedule a men's singles and doubles tournament some weekend (Saturday and Sunday.) A date was agreed upon and letters of invitation were mailed to several clubs and individuals only to learn that weekend tournaments had also been scheduled by other clubs for the same date. Obviously, our entry was very small, other isolated clubs experienced the same difficulty since Milwaukee was also holding a tournament.
This condition indicated the need for some sort of organization that would schedule all tournament so there would be no duplication of dates. After considerable correspondence, telephone calls, personal visits and informat meetings, it was decided to call a meeting of all interested people with a view of forming a state-wide organization. A meeting was called for February 26, 1927, to be held in Oshkosh. This meeting developed a lot of valuable suggestions. Letters from officials of the Western Lawn Tennis Association were very encouraging and the recommended that since we already had the support of fourteen tennis clubs to proceed with the organization. Temporary officers and committee chairmen were appointed and authorized to proceed with plans of organization, in an effort to get the association functioning as soon as possible.
The second meeting was held in Oshkosh on April 2, 1927 when it was decided to change the association form a temporary orgainzatin to a permanent organization. Permanent officers, directors and committee members were elected and appointed. At the suggestion of the officials of the Western Lawn Tennis Association, the Wisconsin Association would be known as the "Wisconsin District, Western Lawn Tennis Association."
The third meeting was held in Milwaukee on May 14, 1927 at which time the constitution and by-laws were discussed, modified and approved for final publication. At this meeting, the first award of a tournament was accomplished. The award of the State Closed Tournament to Oshkosh was unanimously approved.
The Wisconsin Tennis Association was now in full operation. New clubs became interested and the number of tournaments increased each year. Additional committees were appointed, such as Women's Tennis, Junior Development, Umpires, Ranking, Scheduling and Etc.
Junior development was, of course, one of our most important projects. Lack of funds curtailed the activities of this important project until the U.S.L.T.A. decided to help the district associations financially in promoting their junior development programs. This financial aid made it possible for some of the most promising youngsters to attend tournaments away from home in order that they could gain additional experience in play and sportsmanship. Louie Rechcygl, the grand old man of tennis, is probably repsponsible for more youngsters getting the right start and form in the game of tennis. The bonanza of tournaments for youngsters was the Milwaukee Journal state-wide Junior Tournament. This annual event provided the youngsters from all walks of life an opportunity to improve themselves physically and to learn the fundamentals of good sportsmanship. The Milwaukee Journal Sports Department, including Ollie Kuechle and Bill Letwin, did and excellent job of conducting and managing this outstanding state-wide event. This tournament provided the majority of youngsters living in the northern half of Wisconsin the only opportunity to participate in sanctioned competition.
During my association with the Western Tennis Association, I was requested to make a study of the five states comprising the Western Area of responsibility, with a view to reorganizing the districts to better assist and administer the tennis activities in the respective areas. Several changes were recommended and approved, including the partitioning of Wisconsin into what was to be known as the Northern and Southern districts. However, since there didn't seem to be enough clubs with interest in the proposed Northern District to justify forming a new district, nothing was ever done about it. This of course prevented the youngsters living in that area from participating in sanctioned events unless they had the means and facilities to travel to the southern part of the state.
It is very gratifying to me to have had a part in organizing the Wisconsin Tennis Association and to watch it mature in fame and prestige comparable to any district in the U.S.L.T.A. Prestige attained is evidenced by the popularity of some tournaments, especially the Wisconsin Closed which went begging for a sponsor for several years but which is now a week-long tournament (1967) with entries numbering in the hundreds. The award of the National Clay Court Tournament to Milwaukee by the U.S.L.T.A. is another indication of earned prestige by the Wisconsin Tennis Association. The Officers and committees of the W.T.A. are to be commended for a job well done.
Our Past Presidents:
1927-1929 - H. G. Peterson (First President of the WTA)
1930-1931 - Louis Rechcygl
1932-1933 - Robert McMillen
1934-1937 - H. G. Peterson
1938-1940 - Dr. Geo. E. Collenting
1941-1943 - Louis Rechcygl
1944-1945 - Walter Lucas
1946-1947 - Joseph Kaupie
1948-1949 - Jack Petesch
1952-1953 - Walter Stuckert Jr.
1954-1956 - Harold Hamley
1957-1959 - Bernard Schubert
1960-1961 - Elliot Walstead
1962-1963 - Lav Billing
1964-1965 - Duane smith
1966-1968 - Marshall Rotter
1969-1970 - Rollie Mueller
1971-1972 - Tom Phillips
1973-1974 - Robert Stuckert
1975-1975 - Walter Stumpf
1976-1977 - George Kendall
1978-1979 - Richard Murphy
1980-1981 - Jackie Seidler
1982-1983 - Dick Arnold
1984-1985 - William Glasgow
1986-1987 - Genie Gengler
1988-1989 - Tom Widener
1990-1991 - Nathan Kraines
1992-1993 - Laurie Covert
1994-1995 - Ron Leberfing
1996-1997 - Joanne Kaupie Jansky
1998-1999 - Chuck Brothers
2000-2001 - Tom Widener
2002-2003 - Jay Massart
2004-2005 - Elizabeth Barnhill
2006-2009 - Lloyd Cook
2010-2013 - Eric Volcheff
2014-2015 - Mike Sharp
2015- - Steve Burns
Our Historian is Mike Patenaude, Greendale, Wisconsin.
Just to put things into a world-wide perspective, here are the 1927 Grand Slam Finalists:
Helen Wills def Betty Nuthall 6-1, 6-4
Rene Lacoste def William T. Tilden 11-9, 6-3, 11-9
Miss H.N. Wills (USA) def Miss E.M. de Alvarez (ESP) 6-2, 6-4
H.J. Cochet (FRA) def J.R. Borotra (FRA) 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5
Kornelia Bouman NED def Irene Peacock RSA 6-2 6-4
René Lacoste FRA def William Tilden USA 6-4 4-6 5-7 6-3 11-9
Esna Boyd def Sylvia Harper 5-7 6-1 6-2
Gerald Patterson def John Hawkes 3-6 6-4 3-6 18-16 6-3
Grand Slam Results Sources:
Wimbledon The Championships
French Open (Rolland Garros)