By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Teams competing in USTA League tennis play their league matches in a wide variety of tennis facilities ranging from private clubs to public facilities such as parks and high schools.
However, the New England Section women’s 3.0 senior team played their matches on indoor courts earlier this summer at one of the most historic tennis venues not only in the United States, but probably the world.
The Newport, R.I.-based team, which is playing in the USTA League 3.0 Senior National Championships this weekend, makes its home at the Newport Casino Lawn Tennis Club, site of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.
The National Historic Landmark was built in 1880 and the following year it hosted the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships, which is known today as the US Open.
The greatest tennis champions, innovators and contributors have been honored by the International Tennis Hall of Fame since 1955 and the museum chronicles the history of tennis through a diverse collection which includes memorabilia, trophies, vintage tennis equipment, tennis clothing, video highlights and much more.
"I love the International Tennis Hall of Fame. It’s beautiful," said New England Section team member Maureen Maurer as she relaxed at the pre-tournament player party at the Mission Hills Country Club on Thursday evening. "The grass and the lawns are gorgeous. The museum is fabulous."
Maurer says a visit to the International Tennis Hall of Fame is truly a memorable experience.
"You get to put the sport in the perspective, not only in the history and development of the sport, but you get to live again all of those exciting moments in tennis history when players we all know and love had their moments as champions," she said.
In 1991, the International Tennis Hall of Fame hosted a Davis Cup quarterfinal tie as John McEnroe led the U.S. to a 4-1 victory over Spain.
Today, it is the current location for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour 250 event which is the only professional tournament played on grass in North America.
Maurer has attended several sessions of the Newport men’s professional tennis event in July for the last eight years, but this past summer she attended every day as a tournament box holder.
"I love watching the men play on the grass courts. I really enjoy going in the beginning of the week because you get to see all of the different players," she said. "We love John Isner. He’s won now two years in a row."
When asked about her experience in playing in this weekend’s USTA League National Championships at the Mission Hills Country Club, Maurer said, "This is my first experience going to Nationals, but hopefully not my last," she said. "None of us thought we would even be here. I’m here with a great group of friends. I’ve been playing tennis with them for years."
Maurer added, "Win or lose, we love being here, but we intend to win."
The New England Section women’s 3.0 team, which is captained by Mary Ellen Atkins and Kathleen Kosinski, will be playing in Flight 7 with teams from the Eastern, Southern California and Texas Sections.
For more information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame, go to: http://www.tennisfame.com/