In the spring of 1912, Eugene E. Neff of El Paso, TX called a meeting of tennis players in New Mexico, Arizona, El Paso and Mexico with the hope of creating a tennis association. The meeting was held the morning of July 3rd at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce and a tennis association was formed, the Border States Tennis Association, however there are those who recall that the Organization began as the Southwestern Tennis Association, but was changed to the Border States Tennis Association when an Association in Texas, also using the name Southwestern Tennis Association was discovered.
Mr. Neff (pictured, right) became the first President of the Association; James M. Lawton of Cananea, Sonora, Mexico Vice President; George R Drysdale of Clifton, Arizona was named Secretary-Treasurer. H.T. Cuthbert of Douglas, AZ; P.R. Lynch of Pecos, TX; Julius Staab of Albuquerque, NM; Paul Jette of Mescalero, NM and Pendleton Fuller of Las Cruces, NM were named Directors.
After the meeting the group adjourned to the El Paso Country Club for a two day tournament, which in subsequent years became an annual Association event, rotating amongst the major cities – El Paso, Phoenix, Sedona, Tucson, and Albuquerque.
In 1921 a fire in El Paso destroyed all official records of the Association. Six years later (1927) the Border States Tennis Association officially became the Southwestern Tennis Association when the organization was invited to become one of the thirteen sectional associations of the then United States Lawn Tennis Association.
By this time the Association boasted a membership of 400. In 1958 the Board of Directors voted to organize the Association into 4 districts- Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque and El Paso County in Texas. and. in 1959 The Southwestern Tennis Association was incorporated in Arizona. The first Southwest Junior Closed was held in 1960.
In 1993, with another name change, the organization became the USTA Southwest Section. In 1999, the 4 districts that had come to encompass the Section were restructured to become eight (8) Chartered USTA Community Tennis Associations in order to achieve the goal of more direct USTA program delivery to local communities.
The organization has continued in that vein and will continue to promote the interests of tennis players and the development of the sport in our territories, whicn include the states of Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso County in Texas.
PAST USTA SOUTHWEST PRESIDENTS
Eugene E. Neff; J.M. Lawton Paul; Jette Dwight B. Heard; S.A. Gardanier; Hugh T. Cuthbert; Ferguson Percy; W. Barker; Hal E. Christie; P.M. Buckwalter; Norman Carmichael; E. B. Elfers; John M. Williams; K.B. Melcher; E.L. Blumenschein; Frank Fletcher; George A. Judson Sr.; Marguerite Chesney; Roy A. Stamm; E. Zaner; Lesher George; A. Judson, Jr.; Steve Vidal, Jr;. Douglas Cary; Ed Chew;
Jeff Glover (1958-1963);Walter Driver (1964-1966) Edward Edmunds (1967-1969); Gordon Jorgensen (1970-1975*: Tony Bull (1976-1979).
Dr. Lester Snyder, Jr. (1980-1982)*; Russell Ball (1983-1986); Georgian Carroll (1987-1989); Sissy B. Kelly (1990-1993); Marian Palmer (1994-1995); Christy Balsiger (1996-1997;) Jim Reffkin (1998-1999).
Sue Jollensten (2000-2001) Helen Craige (2002-2003) Tim Russell (2004-2005), Denise Ariew (2006-2007), Charlotte Johnson (2008-2009), Beverly Bourguet (2010-2011), Paul Burns (2012-2013).
*Became President of the United States Tennis Association