LA PALMA, CA / ACCESSWIRE / February 1, 2024 / The Black Tennis Hall of Fame will recognize renowned tennis legend Maurice "Mo" Hunter as its 2024 Regional Legend. The organization will make the formal announcement in February with an inductees ceremony planned in September at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture.
Hunter began his start in tennis in Detroit, Michigan, in 1968 at 11 years old. It was the start of a Golden Age in tennis, where an emerging new generation of Black, talented and athletic, grassroots-trained tennis players were rising and challenging the sport's traditional norms.
Hunter picked up an old wooden Wilson racket and took off for his public park courts and started hitting against the backboard. Nine months later, under the tutelage of a local tennis club, he won his first trophy. Since that time, his winning was unstoppable.
In 1973, The Detroit News listed Hunter as one of the finest tennis players in the Public School League, crediting him for having collected 63 trophies in his prep career. He also was the reigning Public Parks Champion and the Northwestern Open Singles and Doubles Champion.
Tennis Illustrated Magazine (May 1974, page 26 article) reported that the ATA Championships boys' 16 singles winner was Maurice Hunter, along with Juan Farrow, who also competed and was a finalist.
During the 1978 season, Hunter was the Southeastern Michigan Tennis Association (SEMTA) No. 1 Men's Singles player for the second straight year and was also the first from Detroit to hold a World Computer Ranking in Professional Tennis (ATP) No.1 SEMTA 2nd year.
In Midland's 1979 Michigan Open Tennis Championships, held Sept. 1-3, sponsored by First Midland Bank and Trust Company, the lithe 22-year-old Hunter, now living in Hollywood, California, with his sister, entered the Men's Open Singles. Having just won the 1979 Michigan City Invitational Championships, he had an ATP of 290.
It's described that Hunter was impressive during the three-day event that included a top-notch field of opponent players from over 18 states and 26 countries. He dominated his opponents with impeccable form, deep serves, clutch volleys, and unerring overheads and speeds to reach every ball hit in the court. At the end, Hunter was given a warm standing ovation for the historic first-place finish, making him the first Black player to ever win the Men's Singles Title in the tournament's 30-year history. He was also the first player to win the title without the loss of a set.
Unfortunately, Maurice's sister Cherisse M. Goedhart, executive producer and CEO at CMG Company, was recently conducting research for her movie project about her brother's historic record and, using Bing AI and other popular search engines, the generated results were disappointing: "I found no evidence of an African-American player winning the Men's Singles Title Championship at any Michigan Open Tennis tournament."
Sadly, Maurice Hunter passed away Oct. 17, 2022, in Los Angeles. But it remains to be seen whether his tremendous career in tennis will be remembered in Black History.
Those who knew his generosity of sharing his skills with many underserved students will recall him echoing in training: "Top rankings never scared real tennis champions and legends … actually, it was the other way around!" And sometimes, "Privilege means nothing!"
For media inquiries, please contact;
Sheila Curry, CEO of Black Tennis Hall of Fame
Tel: (804) 982-9459
For media inquiries and special appearances of the family of Maurice "Mo" Hunter, please contact:
SOURCE: CMG Company
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