Michelle Fox, of Akron, Ohio, did not have a conventional introduction to tennis.
A volleyball player by nature, Fox was introduced to the game through her daughter and instantly fell in love with every aspect. Now, she is an avid member of her local club and serves as a tennis ambassador to encourage others to get involved. Learn more about Fox’s tennis career through our one-on-one interview with her!
Q: Could you give us a brief background on yourself?
A: I am a 60-year old, 3.5 level tennis player at Towpath Tennis Center in Akron. I am married to Bill Fox, mother of two daughters, and we have two grandchildren.
Q: How did you get invovled in tennis?
A: Our younger daughter, Jamie, was a high school and college volleyball player who is gifted with athleticism. Her first year in college, the volleyball coach (who was also the tennis coach) noticed Jamie's athleticism and asked her to join the tennis team. For extra practice, Jamie's coach wanted me to hit with her. Dallas Aleman, the owner of Towpath Tennis Center, was in our church Sunday school class at the time. When I told him about our experience, he told me that he had a perfect 2.5 team for us to join. Jamie and I joined that team and went to practices, and I've been addicted to tennis ever since! My husband and I played volleyball for 35 years and as volleyball became too hard on our bodies (diving for balls, etc.), tennis became a great sport for both of us to transition to. For the last 4 years, we're all tennis all the time!
Q: What is your favorite tennis moment of all time?
A: My favorite tennis moment was my first trip to the National Championships. It was the first year that the 40+ age group was introduced, and the pro at our club asked if I would captain a 40+ Mixed 6.0 team. He gave me the names of some people who he thought would enjoy being on this team - some married couples and others. With no intent of creating a National Championship team with this group, we ended up being very successful and won our way to Nationals! I am afraid to fly, but this experience was well worth the 3-day drive to Arizona!
Q: Why do you believe it is crucial to spread the love of tennis?
A: Tennis has so many benefits - fun, competition, exercise, relationships. Unlike volleyball, it is a sport that one can play into their 80's. As volleyball players, when my husband and I were in our 50's we were the oldest ones out there still playing, and our game skills were starting to decline. Now, in our 60's, we still see our tennis games improving! Tennis is a great sport for people of any age at any level! I captain about five teams per season at our club, and that gives me a lot of opportunities to interact with captains and players at other clubs. I have a lot of friendships inside and outside of my home club, and I believe this goes a long way to keeping the game in perspective - loving the people first and the game second.
Q: What is your favorite part about the game of tennis?
A: OK, I have to be honest here... my favorite part about the game of tennis is HITTING OVERHEADS! It's like hitting a little yellow volleyball over a low net with an extra two and a half feet of reach. As a five-foot-three volleyball player, it was always a challenge to jump and hit that ball over the net. Tennis makes it easy to CRUSH THE BALL!
Q: This is kind of a fun question after the serious questions about tennis! Who would play you in the movie of your life?
A: I have thought long and hard, but I just can't answer this one. I really don't know actresses and celebrities very well. It's tough to watch movies when I'm always on the tennis court!