Tennis & Travel
This image is from the glorious and gorgeous RAQUET magazine where Rita is referred to as the Meryl Streep of tennis! In their story about the senior tennis circuit, they go on to say that Rita loves tennis with a passion so intense it’s hard to talk to her without falling for the sport too. She’ll reenact past matches for you with big hand gestures, explaining each shot and how she won or lost. Rita’s on a fixed income, and a few years ago she sold her house and moved in with a friend so she could afford to travel to tournaments. “This all costs money,” she says. “But now I can say I’ve been to Turkey. New Zealand. Last year I made $1,000 in Austria!” She’s not sure why she’s so good at tennis; she used to be a tap dancer in burlesque shows, and her theory is that all that footwork translated well to the court. When she was inducted into the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003, Rita thanked Franklin D. Roosevelt for creating the Works Progress Administration, which funded the first dance classes she ever took.
“Well, I win funny,” she jokes. “But I’ve always had great feet! I can run, run, run, run!”
After dabbling in the sport in the 1970s, Rita got reacquainted with tennis in 1988 at age 62.
She captured her first national championship title at age 79 in the 75s division, amassing dozens of first and second place national and international finishes since then. She achieved the No. 1 ITF world singles ranking in 2008 in the 80s division.
In 2012, Rita completed a Golden Slam in Women’s 85 Doubles by capturing all four national championships — clay, grass, hard court and indoor, and came one match shy of a repeat in 2013. In 2011, Rita held the No. 1 singles ranking in the nation in women’s 85 singles rankings, and was atop the same rankings in both singles and doubles in 2012.
Rita's Tennis Achievements
- 1992 Special Achievement Award with Evelyn Booth (on every USTA League Team going to Finals)
- Won Senior Olympics with Evelyn in 1991, 1995, 1997
- Captained first team to win Senior Nationals from Colorado in 1992 & 1994
- 2001 Won Mixed Doubles Senior Olympics with Dick DeVoe
- 2003 Won Mixed Doubles Senior Olympics with with Herb Delaney
- Top female Senior Award 2003, 2009 at Hall Of Fame Colorado
- Colorado Sports Women Award for PERSEVERANCE
- 2006 Won Japan Friendship Cup 80 age with Marion Tyrell
- 2007 Won World Championship doubles with Jutta Apell Christ Church
- 2008 Senior Olympic Gold singles & doubles with Beverly Little
- 2009 Won World Championship 80’s singles in Perth
- 2012 Won World Championship Mixed Doubles, with Darius Panah-Izodi, and Women’s Doubles with Jane Lutz in Austria
- 2013 Inducted Colorado Tennis Hall Of Fame
- 2016 & 2017,Won Gold Slam in singles & doubles in Nationals US in 90 age division
- 2018 Won Gold Slam in doubles with Jane Lutz & share first Place in singles with partner, Jane Lutz
Fun Antics and Inspiration
In May of 2019 the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club hosted the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) National Women’s Senior Hard Court Tennis Championships.
The best players from all over the country, ages 50 to 90+ competed for gold balls, which are awarded to national champions, making for an amazing week of tennis for players and spectators alike.
National Women’s Senior Hard Court Tennis Championships
In 2017, Rita and her opponent caught the attention of the local NBC affiliate while playing in the USTA Women’s National Hardcourt Championships at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. NBC 7’s Todd Strain shows us that age is no obstacle for a few of the older players in the 90’s division.
In 2013, Rita was inducted into the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame. This followed her individual world Championship in Perth Australia.
A shimmy on the Grass Courts in Germantown Philadelphia where Rita almost lost the match by entertaining her opponent’s fans.
Sit back and enjoy “Having A Ball,” a documentary with Rita and other senior tennis players that was filmed in 2003, when Rita was 77. This charming piece was filmed and produced by Alex Rappoport – a beloved family friend who has become a very talented film maker!