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TV personality stars on national tennis stage

March 26, 2009 10:43 AM
Pamela Sue Martin in action in Indian Wells.
Pamela Sue and Marilyn Martin talk things over during their match.
By Ron Cioffi, USTA Southern

INDIAN WELLS, CALIF. -- If you had been the focus of 33 magazine covers and the dream of many a young man when you starred as a pretty teenage girl on the TV show “Dynasty,” what would it mean to compete for a national tennis crown?

Pamela Sue Martin answered that question when she walked off the court in a tough-fought loss in the USTA League Presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior Women’s National Championships.

The actress who played Nancy Drew in the 1970s sounded like most tennis players. “I’m very disappointed. I just want to cry. … But, I’ll be over it in a few hours,” Martin said.

When asked how competing at Nationals compared to her big moments in the world of entertainment, she said, “The thing about tennis is that it’s in the moment. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best moment. I never knew how (the pros) deal with the pressure. Now I know.”

Besides working on her tennis strokes, Martin has penned her autobiography, “Spirit of the Matter.” She called the book a “spiritual memoir.”

Martin lives in Sun Valley, Idaho and said she was stunned by the heat of the California desert at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “It’s pretty hot out here” in the morning match, she said.

The Intermountain team has far-flung team membership because it is based in the well-known ski resort community. Margaret Haase lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. and Lesley Hardy resides in Palm Beach, Fla. Martin’s sister and playing partner, Marilyn, operates Flora del Mar, a bed and breakfast in Todas Santos, Mexico. However, they all spend their summers in the Idaho mountains.

Most of the team members are also members of the Harker Tennis Center in the Sun Valley/Elkhorn Home Owners Association. Many of the women are part-time residents and meet in the summer to play together, said coach Billy Van Deinse. “It’s a very rich community with well-heeled members who come out for the skiing. There’s a lot to do here in the summer: tennis, hiking, golf, biking, hot-air ballooning and antiquing.”

Captain Susan Rippon said, “We only play together in the summer. Even the full-time residents can’t play in the winter because we don’t have any indoor courts.”


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