It might sound like an amended version to the start of a famous movie franchise but a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away the International Tennis Federation was formed.
To be precise it was on this day 100 years ago that 12 National Associations attended a General Conference in Paris at which the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) was founded.
Today the ITF has 210 member National Associations, has created opportunities for players of all ages, from juniors to seniors, and has overseen the dynamic rise of Tennis10s, wheelchair tennis and the relatively new discipline of beach tennis.
To mark the 100th anniversary of its founding, the ITF has published a new book called The International Tennis Federation: A Century of Contribution to Tennis. The book, published by Rizzoli New York, will be released on the inaugural World Tennis Day on Monday 4 March, when the ITF’s National Associations join some of the leading tennis stars in promoting tennis participation around the world.
Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the International Tennis Federation, said: “On our 100th birthday, I hope the full range of the ITF’s involvement in tennis will be recognised. Much as we highlight the successes of our top players, we are equally proud of our role in encouraging players at all levels to participate in the sport.
“A Century of Contribution to Tennis reveals just some of the work of our 210 member nations, six regional associations and the thousands of volunteers who have worked tirelessly on behalf of the ITF to make tennis the global success it is today.”
As well as the launch of the book, the ITF is celebrating its centenary as the governing body of tennis with a number of other celebrations, including the launch of World Tennis Day and the Davis Cup Commitment Award.
This year 210 member nations will return to Paris - the birthplace of the ITF - to celebrate the AGM and the French capital will also host a centenary-themed World Champions Dinner at the Pavillion D'Armenonville.
Both of the ITF's annual team competitions also have much to celebrate in the year of the centenary. Davis Cup by BNP Paribas launched the Commitment Award at the 100th Final in Prague in 2012 and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is celebrating its 50th birthday having been founded to mark the 50th anniversary of the ITF.
And last but not least the ITF has launched a new Twitter and Facebook account to mark the occasion - https://twitter.com/ITF_Tennis and http://www.facebook.com/InternationalTennisFederation.
To find out more information about the book click here. A Century of Contribution to Tennis, written by Chris Bowers, is available for purchase on the online ITF Store: https://store.itftennis.com