Women's History Month: Jennifer Smith
47-year old Jennifer Smith has been playing tennis off and on for most of her life. She grew up learning the sport in Des Moines, played at Roosevelt High School and at Simpson College in Indianola. After taking a 15-year break she started playing USTA events ten years ago and captaining six years ago. She hasn’t looked back ever since.
“I enjoy being able to stay active and also have the opportunity to still compete at my age,” she said. “I have enjoyed the friendships I’ve made over the years. I play doubles, mixed doubles and singles, but I would say I prefer singles as I like knowing that I am in control of the outcome. I have no one to blame but myself!”
Smith is the First Vice President of USTA Iowa, a position she began in 2020. She works full-time for the World Team Tennis national office as the Director of WTT Community Tournaments. She’s worked for the WTT for 20 years. For 17 of those years, she worked with Billie Jean King, who founded WTT. She said there is no one else who has done as much as King for gender equality and social justice.
“To think that girls are now playing football and wrestling because of Title IX and Billie Jean is incredible,” Smith said. “Sports offer the ability to grow mentally, physically and socially and having those opportunities for girls and women will only continue to increase.”
As far as tennis accomplishments on the court, she’s been to Nationals a couple times and even claims a National title from the first time she made it.
“I was one of the players from the 2018 mixed 40+ 8.0 National championship team,” she said. “Last year I qualified and participated at Nationals again on two teams; 40+ 3.5 women and 40+ 8.0 mixed.”
“Jen has been a great advocate for adult tennis through her experience with World Team Tennis,” said Mark Blume, USTA Iowa. “She’s also very active with USTA Adult Leagues playing and captaining on a handful of teams each season. She brings energy and passion to the game.”
When she’s not playing or working in tennis, Smith spends time with her husband Marty, and two kids Megan and Jonathan.