In Memoriam: Hall of Famer Russ Adams


Russ Adams, a legendary tennis photographer who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007, passed away in his sleep on June 28. Adams was 86 years old.

Adams's wife, Betty, who traveled the tennis circuit with her husband throughout his lengthy career passed away on June 5. The couple was married in 1951 and they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on September 21, 2016.

Widely respected and admired by his peers, the players, and the tennis industry, Adams was generally known as "The Dean" of modern tennis photography. He diligently chronicled the sport for more than 50 years, spanning the eras of black and white to color, film to digital, Billie Jean King to Martina Hingis. Adams was a constant presence at Grand Slam tournaments, Fed Cup, Davis Cup, Olympic Games, and tennis events around the world.

In 1953, Adams was assigned by the Boston Herald-Traveler to cover a tennis tournament at the Longwood Cricket Club. It was a happenstance assignment for a sport that he knew nothing about, but it opened the door to a lifetime passion and a Hall of Fame career.

In 1967, he became the official photographer of the U.S. National Championships at Forest Hills. He evolved into the role of Director of Photographers for the US Open. Adams was the driving force behind the development of a universal "Code of Conduct"that was implemented for photographers covering tennis events around the world. He was also a founding member of the International Tennis Federation Media Commission and served on the commission for 17 years.

In 1955, Adams was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his work. He was presented with the USTA's Media Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

Adams began taking pictures as a high school student. He landed his first job at the Worcester Telegram and then moved onto the Boston Herald-Traveler. His photography assignments put him into the thick of Boston's intense sporting world, capturing the athletic brilliance of Boston's legends like Ted Williams, Bobby Orr, and Bill Russell, to name just a few. His images graced the covers of more than 300 magazines.

Russ and Betty Adams are survived by their son Richard H. Adams of Colorado, his wife, Linda, and their two sons. 

A joint memorial service for Russ and Betty Adams will be held on July 14 in Reading, Massachusetts.


International Tennis Hall of Fame

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