The Youth Tennis Foundation (YTF) was created in 1962 by several tennis enthusiasts who wished to create a patrons organization. Jack Blair, a former president of the Florida Tennis Association and a member of the Florida Tennis Association’s Hall of Fame, was the first president of the YTF and he remained the president for almost all of the ensuing 25 years. In 1987, Jack stepped down and Pierce Kelley took over the reins for the next 20 years. In 2007, the board named Ed Jagger as it’s president.
During most of its existence, the YTF has provided moneys to junior players who were the best players in the State as an incentive and a reward for their accomplishments. The moneys were to be used only to help those players compete in national events. Many tennis players gave money to the YTF and were called “Friends of Tennis” for doing so.
However, the YTF also pioneered several projects, most notably the Youth Team Tennis Program, begun in 1976, which started with a 12 and under program in Clearwater, Florida, under Pierce Kelley’s leadership, and became the first ever team championship for unranked players in the State of Florida. The next year, with the assistance of Bobby Curtis, who later became the State Coordinator for the YTF, a 14 and under state championships were held in Miami, at Moore Park. The following years added the 16 and 18 and under categories and within a few short years thousands of children across the state were playing team tennis. In 1987, the Florida Tennis Association took over the administration of this worthy program and re-named it the Junior Team Tennis Program.