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Former USTA President and Tempe Native Les Snyder Dies

April 9, 2009 06:48 PM

Les Snyder was a terrific advocate for tennis. The Tempe native ascended from the ranks of tennis volunteers to become the national USTA president in 1995-96.

Former USTA President Les Snyder passed away on Wednesday, April 8 in Tempe, Arizona. Snyder, who served as USTA president from 1995-96, was an instrumental figure in the planning and construction of Arthur Ashe Stadium and the expansion of the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

Formerly a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, Snyder brought a keen vision and sense of foresight to the presidency of the USTA, advocating for the development of a strong national staff for the association, and advancing the notion that professional tennis ought to incorporate an element of entertainment, in order to increase its appeal to a wider audience.

In a 1995 interview with Tennis USTA magazine, Snyder said, “Tennis is a competitive sport, but it’s also entertainment. We have to find a way to combine these elements. We need to bridge the gap between the status quo and finding new ways of building the entertainment factor. Let’s face it, the public and the media have greater expectations.”

Snyder was a longtime volunteer in the Southwest section, serving as its president from 1980-1982. In 1997, he was elected to the Southwest Hall of Fame.