Benjamin Woods, noted tennis photographer and Arthur Ashe’s former hitting partner, has won the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) highest honor.
Woods, an Army veteran from Silver Spring, Maryland, received the President’s Award during the association’s semiannual meeting last month in New York City.
“Ben has been a staple at tennis events over the years,” said Katrina Adams, USTA president and board chairman. “His love for tennis as a player spawned his interest in photographing some of the sport’s most famous players of color and beyond.”
The President’s Award honors individuals who have given extraordinary service to the sport of tennis in the public’s interest. Since its inception in 1999, recipients have included Billie Jean King, Lindsay Davenport, Mary Joe Fernandez, Mike Bryan, Bob Bryan and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
Woods covered 102 Grand Slam tournaments as a photographer for Black Tennis Magazine. He focused primarily on African-American players, but photographed many of the world’s most prominent players in his time.
In 1968, while serving at the United States Military Academy in West Point, Woods became friends with Arthur Ashe, eventually serving as his hitting partner.
The pair taught together at the first Teachers Tennis Conference in 1970. Since then, Woods has attended every subsequent conference, continuing as a recognized tennis coach and instructor in his community.
Even as a professional photographer, Woods continued his service in the Army until his retirement in 1984.