Hit me with your Best Shot!

Carol Newsom Retrospective

Collage - Newsom PortraitsInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

The year is 1980.

Newsom (1946-2003), a former teacher, applies for press credentials to be a photographer at the Wimbledon championships. She makes history, becoming the 1st woman permitted to photograph on Centre Court. This would cement her place in history as a barrier-breaking photographer.

Inspired by Bud Collins’ (Hall of Fame Class of 1994)

Collins’ enthusiasm on a PBS program about tennis in 1974, inspired Newsom to pursue her passion and interest in tennis photojournalism. Her goal was to depict the sport in photos, the way tennis writers, journalists, and broadcasters used words.

A Massachusetts Native

Newsom, a Massachusetts native, began by photographing local tournaments, Tennis New England events, the World TeamTennis Boston Lobsters, and served as the official tournament photographer for Longwood Cricket Club (1976-1980) in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

While covering the Boston Lobsters

Newsom came to the attention of Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals (Hall of Fame Classes of 1987 and 1996, respectively). They were looking for a photographer to travel with and document the recently formed women’s professional tennis circuit. 

Working as the official photographer for the WTA and the Virginia Slims Circuit in the 1970s and 1980s, Newsom traveled the country covering the action both on and off the court. 

By the late 1970s, Newsom’s photographs began being picked up by international wire services such as United Press International (UPI), Agence France-Presse (AFP), Reuters, and the Associated Press (AP), earning her well-deserved recognition across the U.S.A and around the world.

Throughout Her Career ...

Newsom documented both the women’s and men’s professional tennis circuits and events around the world—regularly photographing the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open championships. Her photographs were featured in numerous worldwide publications

A Mentor and Voice of Encouragement

Her sharp eye, skill, and timing allowed her to capture the beauty, intensity, and whimsical aspects of the sport. Her kind and professional demeanor allowed her to serve as a mentor and voice of encouragement for several up-and-coming photographers. 

In 1991 Newsom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She controlled the disease with medication that affected her vision, but not her skill for capturing the action on the tennis court. In 2000, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Newsom Managed to Continue a Grueling Schedule

Despite this diagnosis, Newsom  continued shooting tennis. In early 2003, when told of her upcoming induction into the USTA New England Tennis Hall of Fame, Newsom announced that she would not be able to attend because she would be in Paris, France to work the French Open.

Sadly, Carol succumbed to breast cancer on March 13, 2003

Carol was survived by her beloved husband, David.

Carol Newsom witnessed and captured some of the most historic moments in tennis history. These are just a fraction of the over one million images she took during her almost 30 year career.

Carol Newsom PortraitInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

“I believe that if I keep my eyes open, I’ll find a  shot. Sometimes you just feel the magic.”


– Carol Newsom

1976 to 1983 ...

Tracy Austin at US Open (1979) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Tracy Austin became the youngest women’s singles champion...

Austin at the US Open in 1979, at the age of 16 years and 9 months. On her journey to victory, she beat No. 2 seed Martina Navratilova and No. 1 seed Chris Evert back-to-back. Evert lost to Austin in what would've been an unprecedented 5th US Open finals.

"Carol was the first woman photographer to be allowed on Centre Court at Wimbledon ... in 1980! She was right in the thick of it as one of the photographers we relied on to tell our story in newspapers, in magazines; not every match was on television so these photos were very important to tell the stories." 

–Tracy Austin, International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 1992

Chris Evert at Wimbledon (1976) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

1976 was an incredible year for the dominant Chris Evert

She won 75 of 80 matches and 12 of 17 tournaments, along with two majors, including Wimbledon, shown here. Evert also became the first woman to win over 1 million in prize money, achieving the career total at the Colgate Inaugural in Palm Springs that same year.

Yannick Noah French Open (1983) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Yannick Noah

Yannick Noah was the first French player to win the French Open since Marcel Bernard 37 years earlier, in a historic victory in 1983. Noah defeated the defending champion Mats Wilander to earn his only major singles title.

Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon (1980) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Evonne Goolagong, 1980, wins final Grand Slam at Wimbledon

This upset against Chris Evert was the first time a tie-breaker had decided the tournament. Holding the trophy after her 6-1, 7-6(4) victory, Goolagong was also the first mother to win the title since Dorthea Douglass Chambers in 1914.

Billie Jean King, Virginia Slims Series (1983) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Billie Jean King in the final year of her singles career

the oldest competitor in the tournament at 39 years old, King competed in the 1983 Virginia Slims Championships held at Madison Square Garden, featuring the top 15 female players in the world. She fell to Chris Evert in the semifinals.

John McEnroe at Wimbledon (1981) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

In yet another rematch between McEnroe and Borg ...

John McEnroe celebrates a victory over the five-time defending champion,  Björn Borg, in the 1981 Wimbledon finals. 

Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon (1980) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

In this epic 1980 final between John McEnroe and Björn Borg

After 3 hours and 53 minutes, Borg won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title. This match was a classic clash of styles between the serve-and-volley practitioner McEnroe and the incomparable counter-attacker Borg. It is regarded by many as one of the greatest matches of all time.

John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg at US Open (1981) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

At the 100th anniversary of the US championships in 1981

John McEnroe and Björn Borg walk onto the court to face off in a rematch of the previous year's final. McEnroe was victorious and relegated Borg to be the most accomplished player to never win the US Open over his ten app

John McEnroe at Wimbledon (1983) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

John McEnroe, 1983

McEnroe reached his fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, dropping only one set throughout the tournament on his way to his second Wimbledon singles title, which he would repeat the following year. This victory also marked his seventh singles title overall.

Guillermo Vilas at Volvo International (1979) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Guillermo Vilas takes a rest break

Vilas takes a break at the 1979 Volvo International in North Conway, New Hampshire. Though he fell in the semifinals in the singles event, he teamed up with Ion Tiriac to win the doubles title. This was Vilas’ 4th title of the year and his 60th overall.

Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon (1983) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

1983 would witness a nearly perfect season from Navratilova

After winning her first 36 matches, she lost to Erika Kathleen Horvath in an upset in the fourth round of the French Open. After that match, she won the next 50 matches and swept the Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open titles.

1984 to 1988 ...

Rene Lacoste, Mats Wilander at French Open (1985) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Wilander becomes the youngest champion in 57 yrs ...

Mats Wilander, in 1982 at age 17, becomes youngest champion in 57 years at Roland-Garros, defeated defending champion Ivan Lendl in the '85 finals to win the Coupe des Mousquetaires. Two of the "Four Musketeers"—René Lacoste and Jean Borotra—presented the trophy to the Swede.

Fred Perry at Wimbledon (1984) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Fred Perry at a statue dedication in 1984

Wimbledon honored Fred Perry for his three consecutive championships from 1934 to 1936. Perry, pictured in front of the statue that still stands on the grounds, was the first player to win a Career Grand Slam and remains the only British player to have ever done so.

Spectator shot at Wimbledon (1987) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Pat Cash defeated world No. 1 Ivan Lendl, 1987

After the Wimbledon victory, Cash famously climbed into the stands and up to the player’s box at Centre Court to celebrate with friends, family, and his fans (Cash located at lower right). Many champions would follow in his footsteps by climbing into the stands in years to come.

Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon (1984) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

"I was scratching my nose...," Connors to the chair umpire

Jimmy Connors, 1984 Wimbledon semifinals match against Ivan Lendl. Connors had been warned for unsportsmanlike behavior after apparently holding his nose in what was taken to be a gesture of disapproval; he later received a $500 fine for the behavior.

Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon (1984) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

1984 Wimbledon finals, Jimmy Connors defeated Ivan Lendl

Before falling to the defending champion, John McEnroe, in the 1984 Wimbledon finals, Jimmy Connors defeated Ivan Lendl in four sets in the semifinals. The rivals, who really did not get along, show a friendlier side as they take a rest at net between points.

US Open Stadium Shot (1984) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

US Open Stadium Shot, 1984

September 8, 1984, at the US Open, referred to as "Super Saturday", is largely considered the single greatest day in tennis history. Each of the four matches played went to the maximum number of sets, and all eight players would win at least one Grand Slam title.

Dennis Van Der Meer (1985) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Dennis Van der Meer, “teacher of tennis teachers”

He was ahead of his time in creating Van der Meer Tennis University, an academy for players of all ages and abilities. Van der Meer was indispensable in establishing tennis teaching uniformity, raising the bar in his profession immeasurably.

Steffi Graf at US Open (1988) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Graf becomes the first player to achieve a Golden Grand Slam

1988, Stefanie Graf won all 4 major singles titles and the Olympic Gold Medal in the same calendar-year. Holding the trophy after her first US Open singles title, 50 yrs after Don Budge (right) won the first Grand Slam, she became the 5th person & 3rd woman to achieve the feat.

ATP Press conference in the parking lot of the US Open (1988) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

A formative and groundbreaking moment for the ATP

August 30, 1988. In a parking lot outside the gates of the US Open, with a rented PA system and a podium bedecked with the ATP logo, players, media, and interested parties gathered to hear ATP CEO Hamilton Jordan deliver 'Tennis at the Crossroads'. 

Boris Becker at Wimbledon (1985) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Boris Becker holds his trophy above his head for the crowd

Becker after defeating Kevin Curren in the '85 Wimbledon finals. With this victory, Becker would become the youngest man to win a singles championship, the first unseeded player, and the first German to win the Wimbledon singles title. 

Gabriela Sabatini, Steffi Graf, Pam Shriver, Martina Navratilova at French Open (1987) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Navratilova, Shriver, Graf, Sabatini

Defending champion Martina Navratilova and partner Pam Shriver defeated teenagers and number two seeds Stefanie Graf and Gabriela Sabatini to win the women’s doubles title at the 1987 French Open.

Anne White wearing white bodysuit at Wimbledon (1985) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Anne White's white one-piece bodysuit was widely reported on

During the first round of Wimbledon in 1985, unranked Anne White began play against the number five seed Pam Shriver. However, their play was not the main topic of discussion among spectators and the media in attendance. White was to told to wear "more appropriate clothes".

1989 to 1992 ...

Monica Seles at French Open (1990) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Monica Seles holds the trophy after defeating Stefanie Graf

The 1990 French Open, Monica Seles, earns her first major singles title. At age 16 and 6 months, she became the youngest major champion in the Open Era at the time and remains the youngest French Open champion in history.

Michael Chang at French Open (1989) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Michael Chang becomes youngest man ever to win French Open

At age 17 years, 3 months and 20 days, Michael Chang became the youngest man ever to win the French Open. He defeated world No. 1 Ivan Lendl and No. 3 Stefan Edberg to earn his first major title. He was also the first player of Asian descent to win the French Open.

Althea Gibson, Bud Collins, Arthur Ashe (1990) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Ashe, Gibson, Garrison, Llewellyn, Collins at Wimbledon

In 1990, Zina Garrison reached the title match at Wimbledon, making her the first Black woman to compete in a Grand Slam final since Althea Gibson won at U.S. Nationals at Forest Hills in 1958. The All-England Club flew Gibson to Wimbledon to watch the match. 

Gabriela Sabatini at Virginia Slims Series (1990) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

One of the most unforgettable matches in WTA Finals history

1990 at Madison Square Garden, Monica Seles defeated Gabriela Sabatini 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2. This was the first women’s match to go five sets in 89 years. With this win, Seles became the youngest champion in WTA Finals history.

Jennifer Capriati at US Open (1991) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Capriati made her professional debut in '90 at the age of 13

At the age of 13 years, 11 months, Jennifer Capriati, finished her 1st season as the world No. 8. She had several firsts this year: youngest player to reach a tour final, youngest player to reach the semifinals of the French Open, the youngest seed at Wimbledon.

Andre Agassi at Wimbledon (1992) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Andre Agassi finally embraces victory

Agassi winning his first major singles title at Wimbledon in 1992, after heartbreaking losses in three major finals in the previous two years. En route to the championship, Agassi knocked out three-time champion Boris Becker and four-time champion John McEnroe.

Jim Courier at Wimbledon French Open (1991) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Jim Courier celebrates his first major singles title

Jim Courier celebrates his first major singles title at the 1991 French Open, after a victory over former Bollettieri Academy roommate Andre Agassi, in five sets. He defended the title the following year and finished the 1992 season as the world's No. 1 ranked player.

Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon (1990) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Martina Navratilova celebrates her record 9th singles title

Navratilova celebrates her record 9th ladies singles title and 18th and final major singles title overall at the 1990 Wimbledon Championship. With this win, she also became the oldest woman to win Wimbledon since 1914. 

Stefan Edberg at US Open (1992) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

At the 1992 US Open, defending champion Stefan Edberg

Edberg defeated Pete Sampras, who was just months away from attaining the world No. 1 ranking, in four sets. The semifinal match between Edberg and Michael Chang lasted 5 hours and 26 minutes, the record for the longest match in the Open Era, at the time.

Ivan Lendl at US Open (1992) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Ivan Lendl advanced to the quarterfinals of the 1992 US Open

That same year Ivan Lendl became just the second player (first was rival Jimmy Connors) to win 1000 matches. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic eventually joined this exclusive club.

1993 to 2000

Andre Agassi at French Open (1999) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Andre Agassi ended 1999 at No. 1 for the first

With this victory at the French Open men's singles final, Agassi became the 2nd man in the Open Era to complete a career Grand Slam, preceded only by Rod Laver.

Serena Williams and Max Mirnyi mixed doubles Wimbledon (1998) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Serena Williams and Max Mirnyi

Though Serena Williams will become iconic for her dominant singles career, her first major title was a Wimbledon mixed doubles title in 1998. Partnered  Mirnyi, the unranked pair beat the second, fourth, and fifth-ranked pairs to secure the title.

Zina Garrison-Jackson at Wimbledon (1994) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

At Wimbledon in 1994, Zina Garrison

Garrison beat world no. 2 Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario on the way to her 15th and final Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance. Garrison made history in 1990, becoming the first Black woman to reach the Wimbledon finals since Althea Gibson.

Jana Novotna at Wimbledon (1993) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Jana Novotna is consoled by the Duchess of Kent

Novotna is consoled after losing the women's singles final at the 1993 Wimbledon Championships. Novotna had been beaten by two-time defending champion Stefanie Graf, 7–6, 1–6, 6–4, and would later win the coveted title in 1998.

Sergi Bruguera at French Open (1993) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Sergi Bruguera defeats defending champion Jim Courier

Bruguera becomes the 1st player from Spain to win the men's singles title since '75. Bruguera defeated two-time defending champion Jim Courier in 4 sets to win the '93 French Open Tennis Championships. Bruguera was the last player to defeat the two top seeds, Sampras & Courier.

Natasha Zvereva, Gigi Fernandez at US Open (1995) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Before Brandi Chastain, there was Fernández & Zvereva

Following their 7-5, 6-3 defeat of Brenda Schultz-McCarthy and Rennae Stubbs at the 1995 US Open Women’s Doubles Final, Gigi Fernández and Natasha Zvereva removed their shirts and wore their coordinated Adidas sports bras to the trophy ceremony.

Steffi Graf holding trophy at French Open (1999) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Stefanie Graf defeats Martina Hingis

In her record-setting 22nd major singles title victory at the 1999 French Open. Graf also became the first player in the Open Era to defeat the top-three ranked players at the same major, defeating Lindsay Davenport (No. 2), Monica Seles (No. 3) and Martina Hingis (No. 1).

Steffi Graf backhand at French Open (1999) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Stefanie Graf

Stefanie Graf exhibits grace on the terre battue of Stade Roland-Garros, where she defeated Martina Hingis to win her record-setting 22nd major singles title.

Patrick Rafter at US Open (1998) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

In an all-Australian final for the first time since 1970

In an all-Australian final for the 1st time since '70, Pat Rafter wins his 2nd consecutive US Open singles title against Mark Philippoussis in 4 sets. Throughout the match, Rafter committed only 5 unforced errors. Rafter won six tournaments in 1998, finishing the yr at No. 4.

Pete Sampras at Wimbledon (1997) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

1997, Pete Sampras won his 4th Wimbledon title over Pioline

At the end of this dominating year, Sampras was 10-1 against top ten opponents and undefeated in eight singles finals. He held the No. 1 ranking for the entire year and joined Jimmy Connors as the only male player to hold the year-end No. 1 ranking for five consecutive years.

Pete Sampras at Wimbledon (2000) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Three-time defending champion Pete Sampras

Sampras won his 7th title at the All England Club at the 2000 Wimbledon tournament. With this victory, he equaled William Renshaw’s men’s record of Wimbledon titles.

Venus Williams at Wimbledon (2000) by Carol NewsomInternational Tennis Hall of Fame

Venus' 2000 Wimbledon win was nothing short of historic

With this victory, Williams, who only lost one set during the fortnight, became the 1st Black woman to win Wimbledon since Althea Gibson first did 42 years earlier. It also marked Williams's 1st major singles title.

At the 2002 US Open, Newsom told people ...

“I have two jobs – pictures and fighting [the cancer]. 
It’s a good fight.”

Awards and Accolades  


1980: First woman to be granted credential to photograph on Centre Court at Wimbledon  

1986: Kodak Photojournalism Award  

1987: Women's International Tennis Association (WITA) Media Person of the Year Award  

1988: Spirit of Wimbledon Photo Competition  

2003: Induction into USTA New England Tennis Hall of Fame – awarded posthumously 

Credits: Story

The International Tennis Hall of Fame is grateful to the Estate of David G. Newsom (1946-2020) for their generous gift of the Carol L. Newsom Photographic Archive and their support of this exhibition.  All photographs are © ITHF/Carol Newsom unless otherwise stated. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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