The RTA, originally known as The Richmond Tennis Patrons Association, was formed on November 3, 1954, for the purpose of encouraging the development of junior tennis in the Richmond area. Over the years, the RTA’s mission has expanded to include the growth and development of both junior and adult tennis in the Richmond area.
In 1966, the RTA was instrumental in starting a successful event on the men’s professional tour; first under the sponsorship of Fidelity Bankers Life and then United Virginia Bank. The list of tournament champions includes some of the greatest players in tennis history including Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Ilie Nastase, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Vitas Gerulaitis and Guillermo Vilas.
In 1968, the RTA led an effort for Richmond to host a Davis Cup tie between the US and the British Caribbean. The US team, led by Arthur Ashe, Clark Graebner, Stan Smith and Bob Lutz, won a convincing 5-0 victory at Byrd park and went on to win the Davis cup that year.
In 1994, the RTA organized a successful exhibition match between Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. The event raised over $100,000 for the Richmond Cerebral Palsy Center.
Since the 1950s, the RTA has organized and promoted a variety of junior tennis programs, including an elite program for top competitive juniors in the area. Over 200 area juniors have gone from RTA junior programs to play collegiate tennis, and several have achieved success on the men’s and women’s professional tours.