Exclusive: 2023 HBCU National Tennis Championships Kick-Off In Atlanta

The 2023 HBCU National Tennis Championships kicked-off this week in metro Atlanta. Held at the South Fulton Tennis Center in the City of South Fulton, the tournament provides HBCU athletes with the opportunity to showcase their talent and compete for the HBCU National Championship.

The three-day tournament features 18 HBCUs.

The HBCU tournament kicked-off with first-round singles matches that will determine which bracket players will fall into as the tournament continues.

The brackets are divided into flights A, B, and C for singles. The matches are formatted into the best two out of three tiebreak sets, with the third set being a 10-point tiebreaker.

Between the singles match, ADW spoke with Carl Goodman, Founder and executive director of The HBCU National Tennis Championship.

Photo: Johnathan Husbands

“There’s a lot of talent at HBCUs that never got the recognition,” Goodman shared. “Majority of bigger programs have the funding to play these collegiate tournaments throughout the fall. Whereas
with HBCUs, their budgets don’t stretch that far. Some schools may have money to play in one or two tournaments while others may not play at all.”

Goodman also shared his three pillars as to why they host the annual HBCU National Tennis Championship.

“Primarily, we want to showcase the talent at HBCU,” he said. “Next is because many teams don’t have funding to play during the fall season. Finally, because tennis is a life game, you can garner many friendships throughout high school and college that last a lifetime.”

Photo: Johnathan Husbands

We also spoke with some HBCU coaches about the tournament and what this opportunity means for their players and their programs.

Rochelle Houston, Florida A&M’s director of tennis, shared, “It’s a great tournament that helps our players get their groove. What I admire most about this tournament is the bonds our ladies can make on and off the court.”

Alabama A&M’s head coach Willis Mbandi said, “I just want them to appreciate the journey they have taken through HBCU tennis… I want them to enjoy the tournament and look at how far we’ve come and how these programs have come along.”

Mbandi’s message to his team was, “Go out there, work on your game, and give me your best.”

North Carolina Central University’s assistant coach John McLean IV shared, “This allows our players to grow in their game and develop just in time for the spring season. The community feel of the tournament is huge. It’s kind of like a big family reunion. Even though we are all out here competing, our kids can see friends they haven’t seen since high school and make new friends.”

Later in the day, the tournament matches moved to doubles, which were formatted main draw single elimination with a 6-6 tiebreak and no AD scoring.

The first day of the tournament closed out with Alumni Double Mixer matches formatted as best two out of three with 10-point Super Tiebreakers.

The matches will continue today with the HBCU National Tennis Championship rounds happening this Saturday at the South Fulton Tennis Center. 

Photo: Johnathan Husbands

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