Ben Press was honored with the United States Professional Tennis Association's Presidential Award during the USPTA annual awards breakfast Sept. 22 at the World Conference on Tennis at the Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, Fla. Press, who is from Coronado, Calif., is a USPTA Master Professional and has been teaching tennis for more than 65 years.
He began as a player, specifically an All-American at UCLA. He played against some of the greats including Bill Tilden, Pancho Gonzales, Bobby Riggs, and Tony Trabert, to name a few.
His contributions to tennis are immeasurable. As a coach, he coached San Diego's only two Wimbledon champions, Maureen Connolly (Brinker), the first woman to win the Grand Slam, and Karen Hantz (Susman), winner of three Wimbledon titles, one singles and two doubles with Billie Jean King. He was also responsible for coaching Brian Teacher to an Australian Open singles title.
Press was one of the founders of World TeamTennis. He invented the Scepter Racquet (the first of all graphite racquets in the marketplace). Press has also been very involved with the USPTA. He has served as the USPTA San Diego Division president and vice president and on several USPTA committees, including awards, public relations and testing. He is also on the board of the Southern California Tennis Association and the San Diego District Tennis Association and is currently president of The Greater San Diego City Tennis Council.
His dedication to community work and impact on tennis has been recognized by many. In fact, in mid-August, American Express and USTA honored Ben Press by pledging one of four $50,000 "Fresh Courts" grants to renovate La Mesa's La Mesita Park Tennis Facility. He was honored with the USTA/USPTA Community Service Award in 2005. He was also in the first class inducted into the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame, and was recently inducted into the Southern California Senior Tennis Hall of Fame.