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Six Southerners Named To US's International Teams

March 24, 2009 05:56 PM

Five women and one man from USTA Southern have been selected to represent the United States in this year’s International Senior World Team Championships in Mallorca, Spain, April 27-May 2, the United States Tennis Association has announced. The competition will be played on European red clay courts and is an International Tennis Federation event. The ITF, the international tennis ruling body, also runs the Davis and Federation Cups.

More than 700 of the best tennis players in the world, ages 35 to 55, will participate in the ITF Seniors World Team Championships in Spain. Following the team competition, many of the players will compete in the ITF Individual World Championships.

Frances “Fran” Chandler, of Jackson, Tenn., was named captain of the U.S. Margaret Court Cup for women 45 and over. Chandler will compete on a four-woman team in the tournament.

Chandler, winner of USTA Southern’s 2008 Slew Hester Adult Achievement Award (female), holds a 25-0 singles record for her play in 2008. Among her wins were the National Clay, Indoor and Hard Court singles titles. She is also a top-notch doubles competitor and won the 2008 National Clay Court doubles. In 2007 she was the National Clay Court singles and doubles champion and won the National Hard Court doubles title.

She is no stranger to International Cup Team competition having been on the winning Young Cup team (women’s 40s) held in Germany in 2003 and in Turkey in 2004 where they finished third. This is her fourth year on the Margaret Court Cup Team. They won in 2006 in South Africa, and finished third in Turkey in 2007 and 2008.

Chandler was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Diane Fishburne, of Charleston, S.C., has been selected to be a member of the U. S. Maria Esther Bueno Cup Team for women 50 and over.

Fishburne is one of a four-woman team selected by the USTA from the very top American players in her age division. The U. S. is the current defending Bueno Cup champion having won the gold in 2006, 2007, and 2008. Fishburne was a member of the victorious 2008 team that won the championships in Antalya, Turkey.

Fishburne, a USPTA and PTR certified tennis professional, teaches tennis at Charleston Country Club where her students not only develop their strokes but a life- long love of the game.

Since beginning her competition at the senior level, she has won more than twenty national singles and doubles titles and three mother/son national doubles titles, three ITF world singles titles and two ITF world doubles titles. The Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) awarded Fishburne the Female Player of the Year for 2008.

Despite all of the awards and titles that she has received throughout her career, perhaps her greatest sense of accomplishment comes from Fishburne’s volunteer efforts. She works with wheelchair tennis, helping with tournaments and unified play. She is organizing and will host in May a “Rally for the Cure” at Country Club of Charleston and a sparkle comes into her eyes when she describes her work with Special Olympics. Not only has she taught tennis to Special Olympians throughout the Charleston area, she is in the process of organizing with the help of Charleston and South Carolina Special Olympic officials, local teachers, and businessmen a Special Olympics tennis program in Walterboro, SC schools as well as one for special adults in the Walterboro area.

The United States Tennis Association has named Rachel Gale, of Cary, N.C., as captain of the United States 2009 Women’s 40 Young Cup International Tennis team.

Gale said, “I look forward to representing my country in a sport which I have dedicated most of my life.”

Gale played for the United States in the Women’s 35 Suzanne Lenglen Cup Team competition held in Antalya, Turkey in October 2008. She is ranked number 12 in the world in the 35 age group. Gale was a finalist in the 2008 National Women’s 35 Indoor Championships and took a Bronze ball in the 2008 National Women’s 35 Clay Court Championships. This year will mark the first year Gale will play in the 40s age group.

Mariana Hollman, of Winston-Salem, N.C., has been selected for the 2009 Margaret Court Cup team (Women’s 45). This is the eighth year Hollman has earned a place on the four-woman team. She was a member of the Young Cup team (Women’s 40) 2002-2007 and the Margaret Court Cup team in 2008.

Hollman won both the World 45 Singles and Doubles Championships in Turkey in 2008. She holds many titles including the 2008 National 45 Grass Court and Hard Court Doubles, the 2007 National 45 Hard Court Singles and Grass Court Doubles, and 2006 National 40 Clay Court Singles. She has won 25 national titles in singles and doubles.

She graduated from Pepperdine University where she was on the tennis team for four years and was their assistant tennis coach for two years after graduating. A teaching professional for the past 15 years, Hollman is currently at Adams Farm Swim and Tennis Club in Greensboro.

Renata Marcinkowska, of Rock Hill, S.C., was named to the United States 2009 Women’s 40 Young Cup International Tennis team.

Upon hearing of her selection, Marcinkowska commented, “It is my biggest honor to represent the U.S. on an international team.”

Marcinkowska, ranked number one in the world in women’s 35 singles in 2004 and 2005, is the 2008 World Champion in women’s 35 doubles. She is a two-time winner of the US Clay Courts Women’s 40 Singles in 2007 and 2008. Marcinkowska has represented the US five times in international team competition.

Tom Smith, of Alpharetta, Ga., has been named to the U.S. Austria Cup team for men 55 years and older.

Smith, with his partner, Phil Landauer, of Columbus Ohio, won the 2008 national 55s doubles Slam with wins on four surfaces. The duo won the Indoors in Boise, ID; the Grass Courts in Rockaway, NY; the Hard Courts in Indian Wells, CA and, close to his Georgia home, took the Clay Courts in Atlanta.

Smith, winner of USTA Southern’s 2008 Slew Hester Adult Achievement Award (male), has been ranked No. 1 in doubles nationally in the last four years; in 2005 and 2006 he was ranked in the 50s and in the last two years he has been ranked in the 55s. In that span he reached 12 of 15 national doubles finals and two singles finals. He won his two other gold balls (emblematic of the national crown) with Fred Robinson of Charlotte, N.C. They were champions in the 2005 Hard Courts and took the 2006 Indoor tournament.

Smith has also been a force on the world stage. In 2008 he traveled to Antalya, Turkey but lost the world finals on the Austria Cup team. In 2007 he played on the Perry team that reached the finals.

In the last two years, Smith has been named Senior Player of the Year by the Georgia Professional Tennis Association.





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