Tennis Identity

Election Day U.S.A. – Presidents who played tennis

It’s finally here- Presidential Election Day in the U.S.A. After what feels like the most divisive, rancorous campaign in anyone’s lifetime, it ends today- unless we get the hanging chad thing again.

No commentary here on who to vote for- that’s up to you. But if you are registered to vote, make sure you get out there and- to quote Nike- just do it. It’s that important. Here’s where to find your local polling place.

Tennis has been a longtime favorite at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Here’s the first White House court, built in 1902. It was just south of the West Wing, where the West Wing south terrace is now located.

West Wing Court

This is President (and famed sportsman) Teddy Roosevelt and his “Tennis Cabinet,” a group of White House staffers who would play with the President in the afternoon. Gotta think if he called the ball out, who was gonna argue?

Teddy Roosevelt

Here’s a match at the old court, 1922.

Tennis match 1922

President Warren Harding and his wife Florence would watch the top players in the country play on the White House courts, too.

President Harding

The Kennedy family enjoyed the sport as well. First Lady Jackie Kennedy reportedly didn’t mind that she wasn’t as good a player as her husband’s sisters- she had men admiring her style just the way it was.

John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy

There’s President Ford at right in 1975. Although I’d swear #22 looks like George Dubya, the original caption says “Photographer David Kennerly and Chief of Staff Donald Rumsfeld with President Ford in 1975.” Dig that Pulsar watch.

President Ford 1975

President Bush with Anna K.

President Bush and Anna K.

The current occupant of the White House shows he has some skills on court, too- though we all know he prefers hoops.

His choice of tennis opponents is spot on.

President Obama and Caroline Wozniacki

Former First Lady, the late Nancy Reagan, had her own regular “Just Say No” tournament. Here she is in on the White House court in 1985 with Brooke Shields and Tom Selleck.

Nancy Reagan

First Lady Michelle Obama also promoted the sport.

The famous rumor is that President Carter himself scheduled who could use the White House courts. And we can’t forget to acknowledge Jack Sock’s recent run for the White House. Jack, you’ll make more money playing tennis, if that is any consolation. No Air Force One, but still.

Photos credits: All photos via White House, My Tennis Lesson blog, except Nancy Reagan from Presidential, and Obama/Woz from USA Today.

Sign up for our weekly email