Lesley Ronaldson inducted into the International Court Tennis Hall of Fame
Real Tennis pioneer Lesley Lee Ronaldson was honoured with an invitation to the International Court Tennis Hall of Fame, a move that celebrates her long and illustrious history with the sport.
Congratulations are in order for Lesley Ronaldson, who was inducted into the International Court Tennis Hall of Fame during the conclusion of the twenty-fifth annual United States Court Tennis Association dinner and auction held in December 2022.
A tennis pioneer for more than a half century, Ronaldson was the first woman in the world to work full-time as a teaching professional. She coached and gave lessons, strung racquets, sewed balls, kept accounts, made bookings and ran tournaments and leagues at Oxford, Melbourne (both clubs), Troon, Hardwick, Holyport and Queen’s; since 1979 she has worked at the Royal Tennis Club at Hampton Court Palace.
In 1984 she captured the inaugural U.S. Ladies Open in singles and doubles. She lost in the finals of the 1985 World Singles Ladies Championship but captured the World Ladies Doubles two years later with Katrina Allen, as well as seven British Ladies Open singles and doubles titles. In 1981 she founded the Ladies Real Tennis Association and chaired it for ten dynamic years.
In her warm and powerful acceptance speech, Ronaldson spoke about her half century in the game. “I get paid to look after my best friends, every hour, hour after hour,” she said. “It is the best job in the world.” She concluded by discussing squandering match points in the world championship in 1985 and how the induction into the Hall of Fame had perhaps brought her a final sense of closure. The crowd gave her two rousing standing ovations.
*Photo by Marco Calderon