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Carter, Chandler, Sadri Selected for Southern HOF

October 15, 2014 03:29 PM

Brenda Carter: Senior Star on National, International Stages


Brenda Carter’s tennis career has aged well as she has had more and more success in her senior years.

In 2013, she won the 65s singles national championships on four different surfaces: National Clay Court, National Indoors, National Grass and National Hardcourts. This feat was informally dubbed the “Golden Slam.” It should not be overlooked that she made the championship match in doubles in all four of these events, coming away with three doubles crowns. She ended the year at No. 1 in both the singles and doubles USTA national rankings.

In October, 2014, she captained the champion U.S. team which defeated France to take the 65 & over Kitty Godfree Cup in the ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships.

Carter’s career didn’t start in the last few decades. She began playing in Statesboro, Ga. when she received a tennis racquet on her tenth birthday. She played intramurals at Georgia Southern and, in 2004, was inducted into the Georgia Southern University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1999, she moved to Charleston, S.C., where she still resides.

While she competed in adult tournaments during the 1980s and 1990s, Carter’s career took flight in 2001 when she reached the semifinals of her first national tournament, National Clay 55s singles event. Later that year, she won the 55s National Hardcourt singles and doubles titles.

Carolyn Nichols, who runs the National Senior Women's Tennis Association website, described this as a major turning point in Brenda’s career. “She made a big splash when she played her first national tournament and beat Heide Orth, perhaps the most accomplished international senior player ever, and has never looked back.” 

But, here’s more on her recent playing success. 2002 proved to be another successful year for Carter as she captured her second National singles title. This was also the year Carter was selected to the Maureen Connolly Cup team. She would be a member of this team from 2002-2006 during which she served as captain in 2004 and 2005.

Carter won back-to-back National Indoor 55s singles titles in 2003 and 2004. A year later, she won three national titles, one in singles and two in doubles. Carter added world champion to her resume in 2007 when she won the ITF Individual World Championships. In addition, she was selected for the Alice Marble Cup Team from 2006 - 2010 and the Kitty Godfree Cup Team from 2011 - 2014.

That victory would help place Carter at the No. 1 spot on the ITF ranking chart. She followed that with six more national championships, three in singles, two doubles, and one mixed in 2008. As if these accomplishments weren’t enough, her trophy run was far from over.

With every title that Brenda notched, her USTA National Ranking remained within the top echelon of the pack. During the span of 2001-2013, Brenda was No.1 eight times, and within the top five four of the remaining years. Along with her World Singles title in 2007, she has a World Doubles title and one World Mixed Doubles title.

Carter does not only have passion for playing the sport but for tennis off of the court. From 2009-2011, Brenda served as National Senior Women’s Tennis Association President. She was also appointed to the USTA National Adult/Senior Competition Committee. Cindy Babb, USTA Southern Adult Competition Chairman and Brenda’s friend, commented, “She has been the best ambassador possible for senior tennis.” 

Brenda has almost as many accolades that do not include winning tennis championships. She was honored with the 2003 and 2011 USTA Southern Slew Hester Adult Achievement Awards. She has served as captain to three different USA World Cup Teams, Maureen Connelly Cup Team, Alice Marble Cup Team and the Kitty Godfree Cup Team. USTA South Carolina awarded her the Adult Player of the Year in 2001 and 2006 and she was named Masters Athlete Magazine “Female GeezerJock of Year, 2007.” Brenda was named to the Kitty Godfree Cup team that will once more compete in the 2014 ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championship

When asked about Brenda’s attitude off the court, Nichols said, “Brenda is about the most positive person I've ever met. If you are around Brenda, you can't complain.”

Nichols is not the only one to pick up on this attitude, as Brenda has received the NSWTA Margaret Russo Sportsmanship Award and the Betty Gray Washington Sportsmanship Award. 

Read Brenda Carter's blog from the 2011 ITF World Team Championships in Umag, Croatia.

Tennessee’s Chandler Excels in Adult Competition


Fran Chandler has made her mark in Southern tennis in the collegiate and adult arenas, earning 12 USTA national championships in singles and five in doubles.

The Jackson, Tenn. native has captured national titles, notable records and international accolades. She began her quest to tennis fame in 1980 as runner-up in the TSSAA State Singles individual tournament while attending Jackson Central Merry High School.

As a member of the Murray State University squad, Chandler played No. 1 singles and doubles, posting a 52-6 singles record. These results would earn her the Murray State Female Athlete of the Year in 1980. The following fall, Chandler transferred to the University of Mississippi where head coach Billy Chadwick presided. She earned All-SEC honors in 1983 and 1984, and another Female Athlete of the Year award in 1984 at Ole Miss.

Fran and Willie Chandler married in 1985. Just two years later, the duo would become champions of the Equitable National Husband and Wife Mixed Doubles Event.

One factor that distinguishes Fran from other players is the consistency of her results.  During the years of 2001-2012, Chandler ended the year at No. 1 in the United States seven times. Fran finished within the top three four other years during this time period.

Arguably her most successful year was in 2008 when she scored three of the biggest titles, the 45s National Clay, Indoor and Hard Court championships in singles and the clay and hard titles in doubles. Chandler would defend her title at the 45s National Clay Court Championships in 2009. She would capture two more national titles in 2010. In 2012, she made two finals appearances in the National Indoor and Clay 50s singles events. Chandler swept the National Clay 50s event by winning both the singles and doubles titles.

Not only was Chandler successful in the States but she also has had an illustrious international career. Beginning in 2003, Chandler represented the United States in the World Cup Team, when the team won the Young Cup. The team captured three Margaret Court Cup titles when Chandler served as team captain. As a member of the USA team on the 2013 Maria Esther Bueno Cup, the team finished first in the ITF. World Individual titles in doubles in 2008 and the singles title in 2010 would land Chandler atop International Tennis Federation (ITF) standings those years. Chandler won her second world singles title this past year at the World Individual 50s singles event.

Fran’s contribution to the game is much more than records and trophies. Cindy Babb, USTA Southern Adult Competition Chairman, has always been impressed with Fran’s physical ability, “I have always admired Fran’s dedication to her sport and the professionalism with which she prepares for competition.” When asked about Fran, Carolyn Nichols, a fellow competitor who runs the National Senior Women's Tennis Association website, explained "She's extremely humble, yet one of the best players in the world in her age divisions.” Nichols stated that no matter the outcome, the real joy came from sharing the court with such a fine player.

This will be the third Hall of Fame induction for Fran. She is already a member of the Jackson-Madison County Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. She is also the USTA Southern Senior Slew Hester Female Player of the Year in 2008.

Chandler continues to reside in her hometown of Jackson. Off the court, Chandler is a full time pharmacist serving the community for the past 29 years.

Read Chandler’s blog from the 2011 ITF tournament in New Zealand.

John Sadri: College Standout to Tour Star


John Sadri of Charlotte, North Carolina has two things that most tennis players will never earn: two ATP World Tour singles titles. 

Sadri showed signs of being a tennis champion at an early age as the high school singles state champion at Myers Park High. Sadri stayed within the North Carolina border for his college education and playing as part of the NC State Wolfpack under coach J.W. Isenhour. During Sadri’s college career, he would acquire two ACC singles and doubles championships and a 55-4 singles match record his last two seasons. Sadri would become the Wolfpack’s first All-American in 1977 and would repeat his All-American status the following year. These successes would make John Sadri an inductee into the ITA Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004.

His senior year, Sadri would play on the biggest stage in college tennis, the NCAA finals, where he wore his signature five-gallon cowboy hat. As the No.11 player, he was faced against the No.1, a young Stanford freshman by the name of John McEnroe. This epic match would go down in college tennis history as four hours and sets of high-class tennis played by both gentlemen. McEnroe was the obvious favorite being ranked No.15 in the world at the time. However; Sadri made the match a battle. Only one point would separate the two, McEnroe 144, Sadri 143 and a final score of 7-6, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6, won by McEnroe. Sadri served up an astounding 24 aces in the match.

It was clear that collegiate tennis would not be the end for Sadri. He would begin play on the ATP World Tour in 1979. He finished off the year by making the finals of the Australian Open where he would lose to Guillermo Vilas in straight sets, his best result at a major championship in his career. John would also post quarterfinal and semifinal results in the Tokyo Indoor and Outdoor, and Baltimore that year. He would prove his consistency by making eight quarterfinal appearances in 1980.  His first ATP title came in the same year at Auckland. Adding to the excitement of his first title, on September 29, 1980, John reached the pinnacle of his tennis career as the No.14 ranked player in the world.

Over the next few years John was resiliently playing his way through the tour with runner-up finishes in Denver and Mexico City, semifinals in Queens and seven quarterfinal visits in 1981 & 82. Sadri also impressed on the doubles court these years with back-to-back Australian Open finals. By the end of 1982, John would have three more ATP World titles: one singles title in Denver and two doubles in Newport and Stowe.

Overall, John spent 10 years on the ATP tour eventually retiring in 1987. Since then, he has kept his hand in the sport, presently running the John Sadri Tennis Academy in Charlotte.

The North Carolinian would leave the tour with a winning 213-189 singles record, something few players can claim to have done.  




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