This past Spring, my daughter and her tennis team had the opportunity to meet tennis and sports legend Billie Jean King. The occasion was a kick off for the Washington Kastles Team Tennis franchise. When I was a teenager, I used to attend the U.S. Open at Forest Hills. These grass court championships took place in New York, not far from where I grew up. You could see tennis superstars like John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Evonne Goolagong, Rosie Casals and Billie Jean King close up, since there were dozens of courts with matches going on simultaneously. In the mid-seventies, the great players entered the singles, doubles and even the mixed doubles competitions. So I hope to attend some Kastles matches this summer. For more information about this exciting D.C. area sports opportunity, go to Washington Kastles.
I also had the chance to see Illana Kloss, both at the tennis club where I worked in the 1970s and at Wimbledon in the 1980s. She was one of the best doubles players in the world, and she is now the Chief Executive Officer/Commissioner of World TeamTennis (WTT), overseeing the 11-team WTT Pro League and the nation-wide grassroots Recreational League programs from her New York City office. Kloss’ primary focus is on national sponsorships, strategic planning, media partnerships and expansion of the Pro League. Kloss has been recognized for her work in advancing women’s sports and her accomplishments on and off the court. She was named as the “Sports Business Woman of the Year” by the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center in May 2007. In 2006, Kloss was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Kloss oversees WTT Smash Hits, the annual charity event co-hosted by Billie Jean King and Elton John. Since its inception in 1993, nearly $9 million has been raised for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and local AIDS charities.