In 1967, Ohio ophthalmologist Dr. Bill McGannon contacted the editor of a sports and leisure magazine for physicians, Bill Drake, suggesting that he publish an article about tennis. An enthusiastic response to the article encouraged the pair to found the AMTA, with Bill Drake serving as its first Executive Director and Bill McGannon its first President. The inaugural meeting was held in Florida with Jimmy Evert serving as the Tournament Director.
With many early members from other parts of the country, the second meeting was conducted in Palm Springs, initiating the tradition of biannual meetings on opposite coasts that continues to this day.
1971 – WMTS is Born
The second AMTA president, Dr. Stanley McCampbell, was attending an international scientific meeting in Monte Carlo when a lively tennis competition ensued. Inspired by the AMTA, attendees from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Austria formed the World Medical Tennis Society (WMTS), now active in over 50 countries. Annual WMTS meetings are held around the globe with a similar CME/tennis format.
In 2009, the AMTA Board of Advisors voted to include other health professionals in the organization, so members now welcome physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses as active participants.
Founder Bill Drake served as Executive Director for 23 years before his passing in 2001. Over four decades and through changes in leadership, membership and meeting venue, the basic concept that Bill proposed – bringing tennis-playing physicians together in a pleasant setting to earn CME credit while sharing their mutual interest in tennis – remains unchanged.