In Memoriam: Charles "Chuck"Hitt


On May 30, 2018, Charles M. Hitt, a tireless volunteer who transformed many lives through his love of sports and one of the main figures in the development of tennis in the Caribbean Section - especially in Puerto Rico - passed away at 99 years old.

Born in Michigan, Chuck learned to play tennis from his sister, Virginia. His exceptional talent led him to compete as a junior, reaching the quarterfinals in the 18's National Championships. While in college, he was the no. 1 tennis player at the University of New Mexico.

In 1949 he arrived in Puerto Rico and immediately became a leader in the tennis community. In 1952 he created the Tennis Patrons Association, along with other sports enthusiasts, to offer support and develop junior players. Two years later, he established the Puerto Rico Lawn Tennis Association (PRLTA) to organize tournaments and develop Puerto Rican tennis players for international competitions. During his presidency, the PRTLA got recognized as a direct member of the United States Association and later given its sectional status. This organization was the base of what is now the Puerto Rico Tennis Association, which he also directed as president and member of the Board, as well in the Caribbean Tennis Association.

In 1959, Chuck represented Puerto Rico in the Central American and Caribbean Games held in Caracas, Venezuela. He dominated for many years as an individual player, winning multiple championships, as well in the doubles category, with his partner, Hector Cordero. On 1960 he was recognized for his contributions to tennis with the Conrad Hilton trophy and later he was awarded with the Martini Rossi prize.

Along with Art Zalduondo, he developed and built the Racquet Club Hotel in Isla Verde in 1965. In its heyday, the Racquet Club was the center of Puerto Rican tennis, with eight clay courts, and home to the best tennis events on the island, such as the Central American and Caribbean Tournament, the International Women's Tournaments and the Senior National Championships.

Chuck held many roles in USTA committees such as: Chairman of the Budget Committee, member of the Nominating Committee and as part of the Board of Directors for many years. He also served as Director of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

In 1993, he established the Tennis Hall of Fame of Puerto Rico where he was honored, as well as his daughter Wendy; another tennis champion.

Chuck competed in the USTA Southern Championships in 1999 in the 80 & over category, winning the singles and doubles championship.

As a passionate tennis enthusiast, he played recreationally until he was 92 years old. He parted at 99 leaving us the greatest lesson in tennis and life: "Greatness comes from hands with humility." His charisma, determination, human quality and selfless service will be a legacy that will prevail for present and future generations. We lack the words to pay tribute and thank him for his collaboration. Rest in peace.


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