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Bitsy Grant Tennis Center’s New Hard Courts Honor Longtime Employee

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The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Bitsy Grant courts.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Bitsy Grant courts.

On Sept. 4, the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center unveiled 12 new hard courts named in honor of longtime city of Atlanta employee and Bitsy Grant Tennis Center desk manager Ralph Foster, known by friends and players as “Tennis Center Ralph.”

The new courts replace the center’s previous 10 hard courts, which were demolished in July as part of an ongoing project to renew the historic Bobby Jones Golf Course adjacent to the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center.

Foster, who passed away in 2007, was actively involved with the tennis center for more than 30 years. His natural charm, practical jokes and dynamite checkers skills kept players entertained and engaged through long court wait times. “Ralph was the face and spirit of Bitsy Grant for decades, and we can think of no better way to pay tribute to our dear friend than by making him the namesake for our new courts,” said Dart Meadows, president of the Friends of Bitsy Grant Tennis, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to enhance and improve the center for the benefit of current and future generations of Atlanta tennis players.

“We are thrilled to be working with our neighbors to create an extraordinary Bitsy Grant tennis and Bobby Jones golf experience,” said Marty Elgison, president of the Bobby Jones Golf Course Foundation, which along with the James M. Cox Foundation, supported the construction of the new courts. “Serving the local Atlanta community has been a top priority of this project since day one, and we are honored to oversee the building of new hard courts at Bitsy Grant and their dedication to a truly remarkable community member.”

Built in 1952, the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center is a historic Atlanta public tennis facility consisting of 13 clay courts, 12 hard courts and three paddle courts (all lighted). The tennis center was recognized with USTA Outstanding Facility Award in 2017, and is named for Bryan “Bitsy” Grant, the most outstanding Southern tennis player of his time.

Bitsy Grant's new hard courts were named in honor of Ralph Foster.
Bitsy Grant’s new hard courts were named in honor of Ralph Foster.