Universal Tennis, the world’s premier tennis platform, today announced that Anne Worcester, former WTA CEO & Connecticut Open Tournament Director, has joined the company as President.
As President, Worcester will be instrumental in overseeing the growth and development of UTR worldwide. Beyond her leadership at the organization, her focus at the outset will be on increasing grassroots efforts to connect communities to the sport and fostering diverse partnerships within the tennis ecosystem to build participation on the platform.
“What drew me to Universal Tennis is its digitally savvy approach to make tennis more affordable, accessible and fun for all players,” said Anne Worcester, Universal Tennis President. “Level-based play helps to break down some of the biggest barriers to our sport, so that it’s not about age, gender, where you play or how much you can afford. UTR makes it easy to find, connect and play with same level tennis partners, anytime and anywhere. This addresses many of the challenges I have experienced all my life as a recreational player, a parent and 35 years on all sides of professional tennis.”
“Anne has an exceptional career in tennis, marked by her commitment to improving the game for players and serving as a champion for tennis worldwide. Her dedication to the betterment and growth of the sport is unparalleled,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman & CEO. “Anne is fully aligned with UTR’s mission and vision to create more opportunities and open pathways for players of all levels to grow the game. We are thrilled to have Anne on board.”
Worcester has over 35 years of experience in tennis, working with players, tournaments, sponsors and governing bodies. She was the first female CEO of the WTA, becoming the first woman to head any professional sports organization. Worcester served as the Tournament Director of the Connecticut Open for 21 years, developing the WTA tournament into one of the world’s best attended women’s tennis events and a player favorite.
Under Worcester’s leadership, the Connecticut Open was widely recognized as a leading example of leveraging professional tennis to build community tennis, especially among inner city youth. In addition, Worcester co-founded New Haven Youth Tennis & Education (New HYTEs), now in its 15th year, which has enriched the lives and positively affected the futures of hundreds of economically disadvantaged inner city youth. Programs include year-round tennis, education and mentoring programs.
Worcester is a graduate of Duke University. She serves on the boards of the Center for Hearing & Communication and New Haven Youth Tennis & Education (New HYTEs) and will transition to the board of Tennis Foundation of Connecticut. She will be based in Connecticut and New York City.