C. Alphonso Smith
Alphonso Smith won the Boys National Singles and Doubles Tennis Titles in 1924, accomplishing the feat without losing a single set. In 1982, Smith and partner Eddie Jacobs won the 45-and-over National Senior Doubles Championship, repeating their 1927 National Junior Doubles win and earning the pair a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only two men to win national doubles titles 55 years apart.
In 1963, Smith was named non-playing Captain of the Davis Cup Team for the match with Iran in Tehran. It was Smith’s efforts, while stationed in Iran with the U.S. State Department in 1960, which convinced the Shah to re-enter the Iranians into Davis Cup competition. The U.S. defeated Iran 5-0 and Smith recalls not only the thrill of victory but the thrill of hundreds of machine gun armed guards throughout the stadium protecting the Shah who had come to watch the match.
Smith won his first grand slam in 1974, winning all 4 National Doubles Championships (clay, grass, hard court and indoor) in the 65-and-over competition. In all, Smith was a finalist in 48 national championships and the winner of 30.
Noticing there was little organized tennis for seniors over the age of 55, Smith helped to organize Super Senior Tennis, Inc. Smith served the fledgling organization as president for many years. “When we first formed it,” said Smith in 1987, “we thought it would have about 30 or 40 members, but we had 3,000. We tried to promote tennis for older players 55-80. Senior tennis tournaments have grown from 45 to more than 200 today.”