A native of Cleveland OH, in high school Allen made history as the first girl ever to compete against boys in a varsity sport in Ohio. An honor graduate of University of Southern California, with a BA in Speech Communications, Allen, though never ranked in junior tennis, excelled to become an ATA, NCAA and WTA champion.
A 10-year WTA Tour competitor she achieved a singles world ranking of #17 and is the highest ranked player to compete on the tour with a college degree. Claiming the singles title at the Avon Championships of Detroit, Allen made history in 1981 as the first African American woman to win a major pro tournament since Althea Gibson's 1957 US open victory. Allen won a combined 9 singles and doubles WTA Tour titles and was a French Open mixed doubles finalist.
Off court Allen has worn many hats in the tennis arena; including representing today's Top 20 Players on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Board of Directors, chairperson USTA Fed Cup Committee, tournament director of a WTA Tour event, TV commentator, corporate international media and promotions director, a successful Division I college Women's Varsity Head Coach [Fordham University], and both a boys and girls high school coach [Riverdale Country Day School].
Allen is the founder and Executive Director of the Leslie Allen Foundation (LAF). Their trademark Win 4 Life (W4L) program gives young people insights to the 100+ careers behind the scene in pro sports and helps prepare them to be winners on and off the playing field. W4L challenges students to use the W4L 4D's: Desire, Dedication, Discipline and Determination to succeed. The LAF motto is "Tennis is more than just hitting a ball." Since 2002, W4L programs have impacted students from NY, NJ, VT, SC, CA, MA, TX & FL.
Allen is proof positive that "Tennis is more than just hitting a ball", she currently resides in NYC with her 16 year old daughter Rachel.
Achieved world ranking of # 17, competed at Wimbledon, US, French, and the Australian Open.
"Literally and figuratively, Leslie Allen has stood head and shoulders above me ever since we were two New York kids training at the same tennis camp. It was plain to see by the way she competed and the grace she showed both on and off the court that Leslie was going to be a very special person. Like Arthur Ashe before her, she could have pointed her passion in so many directions. Fortunately for us all her tennis foundation will give children the gift of tennis and the skills to lead a truly rewarding life."