Black Coaches/Teaching Professionals

No list of successful players would be complete without identifying those coaches who led them to stardom.  The following coaches have contributed in a major way to many of the most accomplished players in tennis history. NOTE: The notable coaches on these pages in no way represents every coach that deserves recognition.  Those familiar with others that should be included are urged to submit the names and accomplishments for inclusion on these pages.


Dr. Walter R. Johnson was a General Practitioner from Lynchburg, VA.   Nicknamed “Whirlwind”, he coached dozens of ATA National Champions, including Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson.

Familiarly known as “Doc”, he dreamed of having one of his charges win the National Intercollegiate Championships.  He realized that dream when Arthur Ashe won the title in 1961

Doc was responsible for creating the first ATA Junior Development Program and housed and trained many of the top Black juniors at his home during the summer months.

Sydney Llewellyn was Jamaican born New York City cab driver that developed a love for tennis.  He became a student of the game and coached dozens of ATA National champions.



He became the primary coach of Althea Gibson and became known as “Mr. Tennis”
He and Althea Gibson were married on April 11, 1983 – divorced in 1988.

Dr. Johnson frequently sent Arthur Ashe to be coached by Llewellyn when Arthur was traveling  in the Northeast.