NC native Keith Jennings voted into USTA New England Hall of Fame
Published 12:08 pm, Wednesday, June 24, 2015
The United States Tennis Association of New England has announced that former ATP Tour member and previous New Canaan, CT native Keith Jennings has been selected for induction into its esteemed Hall of Fame.
The ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 6 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.
From a young age, Jennings was an avid participator in sports, seemingly changing his athletic preferences with the seasons. He tried his hand at everything from football to hockey, and baseball to basketball, but at the age of thirteen, Jennings made the decision to increase his time on the hard court.
"I loved sports of all kinds, but in the end I found tennis to be so fun and interesting. I loved the competitive side of it and chose to become really passionate about that," Jennings said. It’s human nature to want to see what you can do, to see how well you can do. I chose to do that with tennis."
And that he did. In the late 1950s, Jennings was one of New England’s best youth players, consistently ranking No. 1 in the 13-15- and 18-and-under divisions. His considerable success as a junior tennis player paved the way to his stellar career as a varsity player at Princeton University, where Jennings remained undefeated in his Ivy League singles matches. Also a strong doubles player, Jennings and his partner won the deciding match against Miami University in 1964 to break what was then the country’s longest winning streak of 137 straight team matches.
Even after four seasons of competing at the collegiate level, Jennings’ tennis career was far from over. His national rankings, passion and talent earned him the right to travel the world and compete at some of the most iconic venues of the sport. In addition to the Irish Championships and several US Open and US Pro Championships, he and his doubles partner Chum Steele, a 1998 Hall of Fame inductee, played in the 1965 Wimbledon Championships.
"I am grateful to USTA New England and its many officials and volunteers for the amazingly positive contribution the organization has made to the lives of players like me. I rarely left the court without a few laughs, great exercise and a lot of fun," Jennings said.
In regards to his upcoming induction, Jennings said, "It is a high honor to be associated with so many talented people who have contributed to New England tennis both on and off the court. I am particularly pleased to be joining several of my doubles partners, friends and people whom I have admired over the years."
Since 1985, Jennings has resided in Wynnewood, PA.
The USTA New England Hall of Fame exists to recognize those tennis players and non-players in New England whose achievements as sportsmen or sportswomen are worthy of the highest commendation and recognition, or whose contributions as officials or individuals in a tennis-related activity have been so outstanding over a significant period of time as to justify the highest commendation and recognition.