Boston Sports Stars: Tennis Players

[caption id="attachment1170" align="alignright" width="152"]<a href="">Martina Navratilova Martina Navratilova, former Boston Lobster. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons[/caption]

As I went through cataloguing the WCVB assignments sheet database, I was slightly startled by the number of stories I was seeing simply called “Lobsters.” Then there was one called “Lobsters Workout” and I started to realize that maybe these were not about the animal lobsters (as cute as little lobsters lifting dumbbells and riding station bikes would be).  Turns out there’s a sports team, a tennis team to be precise, called the Boston Lobsters, who are the New England World TeamTennis (WTT) Pro League Team.  Martina Navratilova was a long time player for the team, and Billie Jean King played for another team in the league, the New York Apples.

Coincidentally, the same time I was figuring out that we have a professional tennis team here in Boston, a friend of mine was applying to work as an archivist for nearby Longwood Cricket Club. That triggered something in my brain, and I realized that I had seen a lot of records about Longwood, some mentioning tennis specifically, so I decided to look into that too.

If I were a more avid tennis fan, I would probably have realized right away, but as it is, I had to do a little research to learn that Longwood Cricket Club became the permanent home of the U.S. Pro Tennis (aka World Pro) Championship. Being able to cover this national sports event locally, we have some pretty impressive footage and even interviews with some of the tennis stars who competed. We have stories about Jimmy Connors winning in 1976, Arthur Ashe winning in 1977, and Greer Stevens winning in 1979.  We have at least 2 interviews with Billie Jean King. There’s also one with Martina Navratilova about Renee Richards playing in the women’s league. This was a controversial story because Renee Richard is a transsexual, who previously played in the men’s league, and was, at first, barred from playing in the women’s league. After disputing the ban, the New York Supreme Court ruled to allow her to play.

These amazing tennis stories are just fraction of the sports stories we have in our collections, many of which include interviewees with the athletes and coaches. If you have a favorite Boston Sports star, make sure you search for them in our catalog, when it goes up, so you can find the awesome sports footage we have to share. And remember, our collection spans from 1960-12000, so even if your favorites don't play anymore, you might be able to relive some of their careers through our footage.


World TeamTennis. “ Billie Jean King,” World TeamTennis, accessed August 13, 2012.

Glitz. “Second set: for transgender tennis star Renee Richards, the generation gap looms larger than the gender gap. Her latest book, No Way Renee, continues the story of her "notorious" life.” The Free Library, accessed August 13, 2012. “,+the...-a0162361305

Zeigler, Cyd, Jr. “Renee Richards wins right to play in women’s U.S. Open.” OutSports, accessed August 13, 2012.

Walder, Joyce. “At Home with Renee Richards: The Lady Regrets.” The New York Times, accessed August 13, 2012.