Courting Success: Mid-Atlantic Roots Feeds Success
Some of the most influential players have at one time called the Mid-Atlantic home. During our Centennial Celebration in 2023, USTA Mid-Atlantic will highlight 50 noteworthy and intriguing players.
The 11 players in the next capsule collection forged a path to success at a young age, with many of them earning accolades in junior competition and high school tennis. From there, their tennis success catapulted them to collegiate and Pro Tour accomplishments. To this day, several of the players in this collection work or play in the Mid-Atlantic and continue to give back to tennis through careers in the sport.
If you missed any previous articles, you can revisit our past “Courting Success” capsules here.
Born in Richmond, Va., Rodney Harmon won the 1980 NCAA men’s doubles championship and reached the singles semifinals while attending the University of Tennessee before transferring to Southern Methodist University and becoming a two-time All-American. He competed at his first major, the 1982 US Open, while still a student at SMU, and advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to eventual champion Jimmy Connors. Harmon reached a career high of No. 56 the following year. He is currently in his 11th season as head coach of the women’s tennis program at the Georgia Institute of Technology and has guided the Yellow Jackets into the NCAA tournament each year. Prior to coaching at Georgia Tech he was the men’s head coach at the University of Miami from 1995 to 1997. He has had stints at the USTA as a national coach and as director of men’s tennis, during which time he served as the head coach of the 2008 U.S. Olympic men’s tennis team.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Md., Elise Burgin captured the 1973 Orange Bowl Girls’ 12s singles championship and the Girls’ 14s title two years later, and topped off her junior career by winning the Girls’ 18s crown at the 1979 Rolex International Junior Tennis Championships. At Stanford University she was a six-time All-American—three times each in singles and doubles—and played on NCAA championship teams in 1982 and 1984, when she was team captain and won the NCAA doubles title. As a professional player, she competed from 1980 to 1993 and was ranked as high as No. 22 in singles and No. 7 in doubles. She captured 11 titles, 10 of them in doubles, and reached the semifinals in women’s doubles or mixed doubles at each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. She also served as captain and a player on the U.S. Wightman Cup team and played on the U.S. Federation Cup team. Upon retiring as a player she became a tennis commentator. Burgin was inducted into the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003.
Fourteen years old when she won the 1977 Easter Bowl Girls’ 16s title as the No. 1 seed, Pam Shriver of Lutherville, Md., outside Baltimore, claimed her first professional title a year later in Columbus, Ohio, to set the stage for one of the greatest debuts in Grand Slam history. Playing at the 1978 US Open while still a high school student and just two months past her 16th birthday, she advanced all the way to the women’s singles final after defeating reigning Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova in the semifinals. Shriver went on to capture 21 singles crowns and achieve a No. 3 singles ranking, but it was in doubles that she excelled most of all, especially with Navratilova as her partner. Attaining their first title in 1981, their games meshing seamlessly, they became a nearly unbeatable combination, winning 74 championships together, the most in the Open era, with 20 of their titles coming at majors. From April 1983 to July 1985 they won a record 109 consecutive matches, and at the 1984 US Open they became the only women’s doubles team in the Open Era to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam, a feat they accomplished two more times. Shriver won 112 doubles titles overall and at the 1988 Olympics took home a gold medal in doubles. Following her playing days, she has enjoyed a highly successful broadcasting career as an analyst and commentator, especially with ESPN. She was inducted into USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 1990 and the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.
Andrea Leand of Brooklandville, Md., won the Girl’s 18s national indoor title in 1980 and finished atop the U.S. Girls’ rankings the following year. In 1981 she became the world No. 2 junior and won two gold medals at the Maccabiah Games, but made her biggest headlines during her US Open debut, when she defeated No. 2 seed Andrea Jaeger in the second round and reached the Round of 16. Leand advanced to the fourth round at the next two US Opens as well as at the 1982 French Open, and achieved a singles career high of No. 13 in 1982, when played on the U.S. Federation Cup team. In 1984 she was a member of the U.S. Olympic tennis team.
Richey Reneberg, a resident of Bethesda, Md., was a three-time All-American at Southern Methodist University and a 1986 NCAA Championships men’s singles finalist. When he turned professional in 1987 he was named the ATP Newcomer of the Year. During his 13-year pro career Reneberg won three singles titles and reached a career high in singles of No. 20 in 1991. He was even more accomplished as a doubles player, capturing the 1992 US Open and 1995 Australian Open doubles championships while claiming 19 doubles crowns in all and rising to the No. 1 doubles ranking in 1993. A five-time member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, he was inducted into the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.
Eleni Rossides grew up in Washington, D.C., and was the No. 1-ranked junior in the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section before receiving a scholarship to Stanford University, where she became the first female player to be on four consecutive National Championship tennis teams, from 1986 to 1989. She became the nation’s top-ranked player and earned All-American honors in singles during her junior season at Stanford. After graduating from college, she competed professionally until 1999, posting 138 career wins in singles and qualifying for the US Open main draw in 1985 and 1990. Rossides began her WTA career as a 17-year-old high school student, when she entered the Virginia Slims of Washington, D.C., tournament and won two qualifying matches before making her main draw debut against Martina Navratilova, the world’s No. 1 player.
Jeri Ingram, who was born in Washington, D.C., and attended public schools in Montgomery County, Md., learned to play tennis at age nine on the courts at Anacostia Park. She became the first undefeated high school tennis player in Maryland state history, going 106-0, and reached No. 6 in singles and No. 1 in doubles in the U.S. Girls’ national rankings when she was 16. She went on to be the No. 1 player at the University of Maryland, where she went undefeated in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) competition, becoming an All-ACC player and the ACC women’s singles champion in 1989 and then turning pro. Ingram reached eight ITF women’s singles finals, winning four titles, and competed at all four Grand Slam tournaments, playing singles at the US Open six times and achieving a career-high ranking of No. 173. She won the ATA women’s singles title in 1992, 1996 and 1997.
Born in Washington, D.C., Pete Sampras spent his early years in Potomac, Md., where he started his journey to the top of the men’s game by hitting a tennis ball with a racquet in his basement. Seven years old when his family moved to Southern California, where he could play tennis year-round, he turned professional at age 16 in 1988 and broke into the Top 100 by the year’s end. In 1990 he became the youngest man to win the US Open, and when he ended his playing career in 2002 by winning his fifth US Open championship, he retired from the sport with 14 Grand Slam singles titles, then the most of any man. Sampras held the year-end world’s No. 1 ranking for a record six consecutive years from 1993 to 1998 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Rockville, Md., Paul Goldstein captured the 1992 Boys’ 16s singles national championship and the Boys’ 18s crowns in 1993 and 1994. He was a four-time All-American at Stanford University, where he became the first player in collegiate history to help his team win four NCAA men’s championships. In 1998 he reached the NCAA singles final but lost to teammate Bob Bryan. In 1999 he won the gold medal in singles at the Pan American Games. As a professional Goldstein became one of the winningest players in ITF/USTA circuit history, claiming 25 Challenger and Futures titles—13 in singles and 12 in doubles. All told, he finished with a Top 100 ranking on the men’s tour four times, peaking at No. 58 in 2006. He was inducted into the USTA Mid-Atlantic Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010.
Born in Richmond, Va., Meghann Shaughnessy broke into the Top 100 for the first time in 1998 and remained there through the 2007 season. She won her first WTA title in 2000 to set the stage for a stellar year in 2001 that saw her capture six singles titles and achieve a career-high singles ranking of No. 11. She went on to reach the Round of 16 at all four majors, her best result coming at 2003 Wimbledon, when she advanced to the quarterfinals. She also excelled in women’s doubles, winning 17 titles, including the 2004 WTA Championships, and earned a career-high ranking of No. 4 of 2005 when she reached the Australian Open and French Open semifinals. She was strong in mixed doubles as well, getting to the quarterfinals or better at all four majors, including the 2007 US Open final.
A former Director on the USTA Mid-Atlantic board and currently First Vice President on the USTA’s national board of directors, Brian Vahaly won the Easter Bowl as a junior player and became the first player in University of Virginia history to receive All-American honors, three times in singles and once in doubles. At Virginia he capped his collegiate career by reaching the 2001 NCAA singles final and doubles semifinals. He played professionally for seven years, winning 10 singles titles on the ITF circuit while achieving a career-high ranking of No. 64 in 2003, when he was the only male college graduate in the Top 100.
The Centennial Celebration is underway and there are many ways you can get involved including joining the Centennial Club, sharing your story, submitting a photo to the Centennial Photo Challenge and of course, joining us at the Gala on Dec. 1!
Stay tuned for the final capsule collection of player biographies coming soon.
This year USTA Mid-Atlantic Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is celebrating 100 years of promoting tennis and its physical, social, and emotional health benefits. Get involved and show your support for the next 100 years of tennis.