“These programs don’t just teach our youth about tennis,” Dinkins wrote in 1990 in The Times. “They reinforce values such as discipline, courtesy, good athleticism, team spirit and responsibility. And they offer an alternative to our young people on the streets and allow them to unleash their creative energy in a positive way. “
He was also influential when he served on the board of the USTA. “There was a loud voice in the room when it came to diversity and inclusion,” said Katrina Adams, former TourTA player and president of USTA. “It helped me understand that we represent everyone.”
“My biggest interest and concern was for the tennis people to look like this country,” Dinkins told Tennis.com. “My experience is that being at a table changes things.”
The tennis world honored Dinkins by naming the entrance to the tennis center after him and also the namesake of some of Harlem’s tennis courts.
But in the case of tennis nuts, ultimately your game matters. How was Dinkins in court?
Doug Henderson, a Manhattan Inwood division attorney and longtime friend of Dinkins who played with him in the ’70s and’ 80s: “It was a good game; he had strong legs. Today, players prefer to use the upper body; he used his feet. It was ultra competitive. He played until he could no longer play.
“She was spotless in her suit and tie, in her tennis suit, and in her manners.”
As he grew older, Dinkins continued to be challenged. “He enjoyed playing with players of good age and much younger,” said Peter Knobler, co-author of the mayor’s resume, “The Mayor’s Life: Directing the Beautiful Mosaic of New York.” “He played with Monica Seles and other pros. When the players met him and it turned out he had the same passion as them, they responded.
Dinkins continued to pair until he was 88 years old. Adams, who played with him on Roosevelt Island that year, said: “He would always have a diverse group with him, men, women, black, white, Asian, Spanish. He always loved bringing people together. It was strategic, in court, but also professionally.