Racquet Sports Industry Magazine Names 2023 ‘Champions of Tennis’

December 13, 2023

Tennis icon Billie Jean King is the magazine’s “Person of the Year,” while individuals and organizations from across the country are recognized in 27 additional categories.

NEW YORK, NY — Tennis legend and social activist Billie Jean King has been named “Person of the Year” for 2023 by Racquet Sports Industry magazine in the publication’s January 2024 issue. King led off the magazine’s 23rd annual “Champions of Tennis Awards,” which honor people, businesses and organizations dedicated to improving the sport and business of tennis and racquet sports.

King’s record on the tennis court is extraordinary—39 Grand Slam titles (12 singles, 16 women’s doubles and 11 mixed doubles), seven Fed Cup titles, and much more—but as a pioneer and advocate for equality and social justice, few Americans can come close to what she has stood for and achieved.

“With all that Billie Jean King has done, and continues to do, a case could easily be made for her to be our ‘Person of the Year’ in pretty much any year,” says Racquet Sports Industry Editor Peter Francesconi. “But in 2023, in which Billie Jean turned 80 years old, we celebrate key anniversaries that she helped bring about. This year, the US Open marked the 50th anniversary of awarding equal prize money to male and female players, which was a move spearheaded by King. It was also the 50th year of the Women’s Tennis Association, which was founded by King. And 50 years ago, her iconic win over Bobby Riggs in the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ changed our perspective on women in sports and society.

“Title IX was passed in 1972 prohibiting sex-based discrimination in schools and other education programming receiving federal funds, and Billie Jean made that landmark legislation come alive for all Americans,” Francesconi adds. “Her courage, passion and willingness to use her platform to champion such important ideals has made the sport, and this country, better.”

In addition to its Person of the Year award, Racquet Sports Industry also named winners in 27 other categories for its 2023 Champions of Tennis Awards (see the January 2024 Racquet Sports Industry digital edition at for more on these winners):

  • Person of the Year: Billie Jean King, Chicago, Ill.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Kirk Anderson, Portland, Ore.
  • Tennis Industry Service Award: John Embree, Orlando, Fla.
  • Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year: Your Serve Tennis, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Commercial Facility of the Year: North Hills Club, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Municipal Tennis Facility of the Year: Kroc Tennis Center, Greenville, S.C.
  • Builder/Contractor of the Year: Jeff Nichols/American Tennis Courts Inc., Mobile, Ala.
  • Sales Rep of the Year: Cynthia Shipper, Dallas, Texas
  • Grassroots Tennis Champion of the Year: Loretta Conway, Steamboat Springs, Colo.
  • Junior Tennis Champion of the Year: Rob Oppenheim, Bridgeport, Conn.
  • Wheelchair Tennis Champion of the Year: Anthony Lara, Chino, Calif.
  • Community Tennis Association of the Year: Opportunity Tennis Academy, Southeastern Michigan
  • Racquet Technician/Stringer of the Year: Albert Lee, Potomac, Md.
  • Public Park of the Year: Hampden Park, Reading, Pa.
  • Mass Merchant/Chain Store of the Year: Dick’s Sporting Goods, Coraopolis, Pa.
  • High School Coach of the Year: Bill Shardlow, North Yarmouth, Maine
  • Tennis Advocate of the Year: Angela Emery, Casper, Wyo.
  • Park & Recreation Agency of the Year: Mobile (Ala.) Park & Rec Department
  • Adaptive Tennis Champion of the Year: Janet Lefkowitz, Greenburgh, N.Y.
  • National Junior Tennis & Learning Chapter of the Year: Advantage Kids, Gilford, N.H.
  • Adult Tennis Provider of the Year: Tennis in Your Park, USTA Northern Section
  • Innovative Media Coverage of the Year: Mark Preston/, New York
  • School Tennis Facility of the Year: Byron Center Schools West Athletic Complex, Byron Center, Mich.
  • College Tennis Facility of the Year: Philip & Cheryl Milstein Tennis Center, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.
  • Public Tennis Facility of the Year: Dwight Davis Tennis Center, St. Louis, Mo.
  • PTR Member of the Year: Tito Perez, Setauket, N.Y.
  • USPTA Member of the Year: Simon Paek, Fullerton, Calif.
  • USTA Section of the Year: USTA Missouri Valley

Racquet Sports Industry (formerly Tennis Industry), the largest racquet sports trade magazine in the world, has been covering the tennis business and the sport for 52 years. It is published 10 times a year by Tennis Channel Inc. Available in both print and digital editions, RSI is the official publication of the Tennis Industry Association, U.S. Racquet Stringers Association and American Sports Builders Association. Visit