Althea Gibson won her first tennis tournament, the American Tennis Association (ATA) sanctioned in 1942 New York State Junior Girl’s Open. She defeated (a white player) in the Finals. At the 1942 ATA Junior Girl’s Nationals, she lost to in the Finals. She won two consecutive ATA Girls National Junior titles in 1944 and 1945. During this period of her life she became good friends with boxer Sugar Ray Robinson and his wife Edna Mae. The Robinsons were instrumental in giving her guidance off the tennis court.