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TENNIS in New Jersey

TennisHistory The definitive history.

The history of tennis in New Jersey began shortly after the game arrived in the United States. The first lawn tennis set was brought ashore by the Outerbidge family of Staten Island in 1874. The game spread across the water to the Garden State soon after, finding an enthusiastic following on the manicured lawns and cricket fields of the wealthy.

By the end of the 1880s, tennis clubs had begun springing up all over the state— including Seabright, Montclair, East Orange, Morristown, Ridgewood, Princeton, Newark, Hoboken, Bayonne, Mantoloking and Hackensack. In many of these towns, the tennis club became the hub of high society.

In the first half of the 20th century, invitational tournaments at these clubs drew some of the world’s top players. The Seabright tournament was a major warm-up event for the U.S. Championships at Forest Hills. Beginning in the 1980s, the August tournament in Mahwah served a similar purpose on the men’s and women’s pro tours.

The state has produced a handful of notable players over the years, including Ridgewood’s Bessie Moore, who was national singles champion four times at the turn of the century, and Virginia-born John Van Ryn, who won 5 grand slam doubles titles after graduating from Princeton. Another New Jersey tennis champion was Frank Parker, who won the U.S. Championships in 1944 and 1945, and the French Championships in 1948 and 1949. Parker was born in the Midwest, but attended the Lawrenceville School. More recently, Hoboken-born Michael Chang achieved a #2 world ranking and won the French Open in 1989 at the age of 17.

 

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