Howard: Where are they now after WTA Tour success?
When players drop off the professional WTA tour where once their names were widely known to the point it’s unusual to hear anything about them I wonder what the next chapter in life for them was. Last week we covered of few of the men in this vein and now a few women - “Where are they now?”
Virginia Wade - the 73 year-old is one of the most famous tennis players from England, having won 3 Grand Slam singles championships and 3 Grand Slam doubles titles (a total of 55 titles) over a 26 year WTA TOUR RUN
Her greatest moment was winning the 1977 Wimbledon singles championship which was the centennial of that great event.
I was lucky enough to run some clinics with Virginia at the Arizona Biltmore in 1976 when she was the touring pro there 30 days out of each year.
Never married and with no children, this University of Sussex graduate (degree in Mathematics and Physics) maintains a family house in Kent and New York, still can be found doing television commentary (BBC) and playing a weekly game of tennis.
Evonne Goolagong Cawley - born to a large family of 8 children and the only Aboriginal tennis player and from the Wiradjuri people was so good as a junior player she was asked to live and train in Sydney.
During her amateur and professional career Goolagong won 86 total career titles, 7 of them Grand Slam singles championships, 6 Grand Slam doubles and 1 mixed.
Every now and then Evonne was know to go on a “Walkabout” where in she seemed to lose her concentration for a few games.
After she retired from professional tennis she and her husband Roger lived in the U.S. for 8 years, and then bought a home in Noosa Heads, Queensland with their two children Kelly and Morgan.
The 67 year-old Goolagong loves working with young people most of it through Tennis Australia running the Goolagong development camp that helps Indigenous kids.
Li Na - popular Chinese tennis personality and player now 37 is being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this year in Newport R.I. after winning two Grand Slam singles titles and being on the WTA tour from 1999 until September of 2014 due to a nagging knee injury.
The first Asian women to win Grand Slam titles made it on the cover of TIME magazine, also listed as one of the 100 most Influential People in the World, a role model for thousands in China and people around the world.
Li amassed nearly $17 million dollars in prize money and much more than that in endorsements over her career and has a whopping 20 million followers on China social media.
Li was commissioned as a global Ambassador for the Special Olympics in 2016, and now she and her husband Jiang (Dennis) Shan, her former coach have two children.
Gabriela Sabatini - the high performing, fantastic junior player, one time Grand Slam singles winner of the U.S. Open in 1990, model looking Argentinian was a force to be reckoned with for 13 years (1984-1996) as a professional player.
Gabby won 27 singles and 14 doubles titles with a high ranking of #3, as well as being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006.
Now at the age of 48, with about $9 million dollars in prize money and much more in endorsements and other business dealings, Sabatini who is single has a perfume line for women and scents for men business and has also has authored a couple books. She spends her time between Buenos Aires and Boca Raton.
Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 45 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.