What they’ve said about The Ojai:

Upon his arrival to Ojai, Sherman Thacher told his brother William: “If you have brought white tennis trousers, tennis shoes, and a racket and white hat in your trunk, please, please keep them there. We, here, do not play tennis at all. We work and play with horses.”

William Thacher around 1920: “In 1899 we laid the foundation for the Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament as it is known today. We staged three events, men’s singles, boys’ interscholastic singles and doubles. In 1900 we added men’s doubles, women’s singles and mixed doubles. In 1907, invitational girls’ interscholastic singles and doubles were started. In 1911 we added men’s intercollegiate singles and doubles and in 1919, younger boys’ and younger girls’ singles and doubles. Thus we found ourselves, 23 years after the formation of our little Tennis Club, staging an annual tournament for boys and girls and men and women from every section of California.”

Perry T. Jones: “For the past half century, all of the players prominent in the game of tennis in California, have in their day, been singularly privileged to come and play in The Ojai and no event in the annals of our fine game is more highly regarded than this unusually attractive tournament played at springtime each year here in Peaceful Valley.”

Harry Maiden, a longtime Ojai and Wimbledon umpire, once said, “There are only two civilized tournaments in the world, the Ojai and Wimbledon, because they both serve tea.”

Said tournament president Sidney W. Treat in the 1930s: “Expenses must be met but a ‘Big Show’ atmosphere must be absolutely avoided.”

At the 100th tournament in 2000 tournament President Alan Rains said: “Are you against apple pie? I don’t see there’s any reason to end it. I think there’s another 100 years ahead.”

William Thacher: “One of the reasons the tournament is so well-liked is that in conjunction with the actual playing of tennis is staged a sort of Old Home Week. The whole atmosphere more closely resembles that of a house-party than a mere striving for prizes as every effort is made to make both players and spectators feel that they are guests of the valley.”

Billie Jean King: “My fondest memories of the event are from my collegiate days at Cal State LA. We traveled with Dr. Joan Johnson and Scotty Deeds to the event and it was something we looked forward to every year. I always stayed with the Pierpont family when I played in Ojai and they made things so easy for all of us. Sometimes you almost forgot you were there to play in a tournament. It was just so comfortable and almost like a second home.”

“The Ojai tournament has such a rich history and there are so many great traditions at the event. It should be an event that other promoters should try and re-create in their own markets.”

“If you grow up in Southern California, playing in Ojai is almost like a rite of passage for a tennis player. My career was enriched with the great memories from the event.”

Bob Bryan: “Yes, `The Ojai’ really fired us up to play tennis and to be good enough to play there someday. We always remember as little guys drinking the delicious orange juice and always taking extra cookies. We also found the grounds to be fun to explore when we were 5 or 6 years old when our parents played in the event. The whole scene there was so magical for us. And when we started playing there as each year passed we had more and more local fans coming out to watch us and root for us. We were so proud to win titles there and still have great memories of `The Ojai.’”

Mike Bryan: “We started going to `The Ojai’ when we were 5 years old and we were so inspired seeing all the great Pac-10 players like Jeff Tarango, Carl Chang, Jon Leach and Martin Blackman. The park was so beautiful and majestic and we were amazed at the large crowds that filled the stands. And we always dreamed of someday playing there ourselves. And `The Ojai’ folks were so nice to let us start playing in the 14s when we were only 10. It was a dream come true when we won the Interscholastic Doubles for Rio Mesa (High School) and then the Pac-10 Singles and Doubles and Team title when we played at Stanford.”

Lindsay Davenport: “I’ve always loved the tournament. I remember being 13 or 14 and watching all the women play at the Ojai Valley Inn. My coach won it a couple of years so there are times we do reminisce about Ojai.”

Ellsworth Vines: “My keenest recollection of the tournament is the way the Ojai people took us into their homes. It helped make everything grand fun and a real holiday.”

Ted Schroeder: “The Ojai is more than a tournament, it’s a tradition.”

“I remember playing my first tournament there 67 years ago in 1933. Ojai was the biggest thing in our lives. It is the most delightful tournament there ever was. No state or section in the country has anything that remotely compares to Ojai.”

Joe DeVito, former Ojai mayor and past tournament president: “The weather warms up. You can smell the orange blossoms. There’s hustle and bustle and players walking around town. It just creates a feeling and anticipation that’s really contagious.”

Rick Leach: “The atmosphere is special, and it’s a big part of tennis history. I won’t be surprised if it goes on for another 100 years.”

Glenn Bassett: “I’ve played in all the tournaments, including Wimbledon, and this is by far my favorite because it is so special. Just the atmosphere of the park. Everything is just tennis. It is the best tournament in the world.”

Vic Braden: “Even people who lost in the first round remember this as one of their favorite tournaments. I’m still looking for someone who had a lousy time here.”