March 2017 – Mavis Close

Tennis Ace of the Month – Mavis Close

Tennis Ace – March 2017

mavis close

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in a very small town on the south shore of Long Island (NY) called Blue Point,

known for the world famous Blue Point Oysters.

If you aren’t from Pittsburgh or the surrounding areas, what brought you to Pittsburgh, PA?

I was at S.U.N.Y Cortland (NY) and met a guy from nearby Seneca Army Depot.  He was from

Pittsburgh so I moved here and we got married.  Well, I am no longer married (Phew), but have

3 lovely children and 5 grandchildren.

At what age, where and with whom did you first begin playing tennis?

I started playing in high School when I was given a Pablo Gonzales wooden racket by my parents.  

I never had lessons, but played at the HS with a few friends.  Somehow we picked it up!  Unfortunately, in the 60’s, there were no women’s interscholastic sports title 9 was not yet in existence so I never played on a high school team.

Did you play for any school teams?  If so, when and what schools?

Strange but true–the first school team I ever played for was Chatham College at the age of 35. I was recruited one day by the tennis coach when she saw me playing on Chatham’s courts while I was a student there.  I had a blast.  I also played for a “B” traveling doubles team for many years.

What level tennis player are you now?  What was your highest ranking?

My highest ranking was 4.0.  I am probably between 3.5 and 4.0 right now! 

Do you play in tournaments now?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

I no longer play in leagues or tournaments.  I have lots to do on weekends to say nothing of weekdays!!!!  I have Grandchildren to visit, adventures to take, photos cards to create, jewelry to make and books to write.  Not much time left over after that….

Do you prefer singles, doubles and or mixed play?  Why?

I started out playing singles, but now I am a HUGE fan of doubles.

Name two of your favorite tennis players and tell why they are your favorites.

My favorite tennis player was PJ, Patricia Jones.  Her winning attitude and skills made her a great player.

I also like Serena Williams. Such power and beauty!

If you could ask each of them a question, what would the questions be?

What is it about the game that you like? Why?

I love both the social aspects as well as performing the skills.  It keeps me in shape as well

Is there anything about the game that you don’t like and if so, what is it and why?

I hate it that we often are slaves to the weather. I hate the wind especially.

If you could change one thing about tennis, what would it be?

I would build more indoor courts in the city!  There should be a ballboy for every court!

What do you consider the strongest aspect of your tennis game? Why?

I think my forehand and topspin volleys are my best strokes.  I am a pretty quick runner as well.

What part of your tennis game would you most like to improve? Why?

I would love to have a better serve and backhand volley.

Do you have a personal tennis match that stands out in your mind?  Please share the circumstances of that match with us.

One of my most memorable matches was at a NAACP tournament in Schenley Park years ago. I had played a Korean Woman in singles and lost, but I hadn’t gotten a women’s doubles partner at that point and she was a nice player so I asked her (through her husband the interpreter; she spoke only Korean) to be my partner.  We worked our way up to the finals where we had to play the Hall Sisters, Trish and Martha, who were favored to win the whole tournament.  We beat them fairly handily and I was never so proud to go up and get my first place trophy at the NAACP Banquet!

Aside from tennis, in what other athletic activities do you participate?

I like to ride my bike, especially on the new trails in the city.

What is your favorite type of music?

It is easier to say which i really don’t like, which would be Heavy Metal and Punk Rock.  I am

partial to Motown and R & B, Beatles and a lot of the new music from artists such as Amy

Winehouse, Jason Mraz, Adele, Maroon 5, Santana, Latin Music, Ella Fitzgerald, some hip hop

and rap……..and I could go on.

Name your favorite musical artist/group?

See above……

What is your favorite food?

Lobster Roll from Muddy Waters Restaurant

What can always be found in your refrigerator?

Pasta (all shapes and sauces), macaroni and cheese, mushroom pizza, steak, Thai Food, Indian Food.

What is your favorite vacation spot?

I never go to the same place twice, so I can’t say that I have a favorite, however, my trip to

Tanzania, Africa was my favorite trip of all time.  We stayed in tents in various places throughout

the country.  I even took a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti!  Unforgettable!

What would most others be surprised to know about you?

I ran a marathon, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Chatham College, I played tennis for

Chatham’s Tennis team at the age of 35, and I am writing a novel.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I think I have already said too much…….  🙂

I am writing a novel about my ancestors in Germany and teaching an art class at Ellis.