More than 1,500 players compete annually in The Ojai Tennis Tournament, which uses 112 tennis courts in the Ojai Valley, Ventura, Oxnard and Port Hueneme. Here are some more tournament facts and important historical dates:
- 500 local volunteers conduct the tournament (no paid staff or organizer)
- 7,000 Wilson Heavy Duty tennis balls used
- $120,000 total tournament expenses
- $84,000 donations received from major sponsors
- $4,000 donations received from local small merchants
- Significant in-kind services donated from merchants and tennis court owners
- $17,000 net proceeds contributed to youth tennis programs
- $35,000 net proceeds contributed to improving public tennis facilities
- 20 cases of Pixie tangerines served to those playing outside of Ojai Valley
- More than a ton of oranges used for the orange juice served at Libbey Park in Ojai
Important Tournament Dates
- 1887 – Edward Thacher, who had given up architecture for oranges, comes to Ojai from New England. Sherman Thacher followed after graduating from Yale.
- 1895 – The Ojai Valley Tennis Club is formed.
- 1896 – William Thacher organizes a series of team matches with the neighboring communities of Ventura and Santa Barbara. The Ojai Club won the first match with Thacher leading the way.
- 1898 – The four best players in Southern California challenged the best players of Northern California to a round-robin tennis match on the Ojai courts. Northern California won.
- 1899 – The first single-elimination year of the tournament and the first Southern California Interscholastic Championships.
- 1899 – Lowell Reese is the first winner of the All-Comers trophy.
- 1900 – Ruby Garland crowned the first ladies’ champion.
- 1904 – The serving of complimentary afternoon tea to both players and spectators.
- 1924 – A cattle disease call hoof and mouth disease cancels the tournament since no travel was permitted.
- 1928 – Bill Tilden wins the Ojai Open event.
- 1930s – Orange juice now served to players and spectators.
- 1952 – William Thacher dies at the age of 87.
- 1964 – Arthur Ashe wins first of back-to-back intercollegiate titles.
- 1965 – Billie Jean Moffitt wins women’s singles title.
- 1966 – One year later a married Billie Jean King wins the event.
- 1977 – In front of the biggest crowd ever, Tracy Austin wins the women’s Invitational title at age 14.
Winners At Past Ojai Tennis Tournaments