USTA President Jane Brown Grimes, the WTA’s long serving Peachy Kellmeyer and one of Amnerica’s greatest ever champions, Tony Trabert, were on hand in Dallas last week to recognize Nancy Jeffett’s life long service to tennis at the 40th anniversary of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation.
As the event is always highlighted by a junior match between the USA and Great Britain, LTA chairman Stuart Smith was also present to recognize Mrs. Jeffett’s dedication to the sport. With her own family’s support, Nancy has been a tireless promoter of the game in Texas and was especially influential in the development of the fledgling WTA Tour in those early days when World Tennis publisher Gladys Heldman and Billie Jean King, along with Philip Morris chairman Joe Cullman were busy creating the most successful world-wide tour in all of women’s sport.
The USA won a closely-contested match in the 33rd Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy. The event marked the 40th anniversary of the Maureen Connolly Tennis Foundation Tennis, which supports and promotes tennis through its numerous events and junior programs.
Mrs. Jeffett co-founded the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation with Maureen Connolly Brinker in 1968.
During the awards dinner on Saturday, Sept. 29, Tony Trabert and Sir James Harvie-Watt from the International Tennis Hall of Fame presented the prestigious “golden achievement award” for outstanding contribution to the game on an international level to Mrs. Jeffett. Stuart Smith, president of The Lawn Tennis Association was also present to honor Mrs. Jeffett. Chris Evert sent a letter which was read by Peachy Kellmeyer and Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss assisted with a video message to Nancy. Included in the video were congratulations from Pam Shriver, Virginia Wade, Martina, Rosie Casals, Elise Bergin, Wendy Turnbull and Tracy Austin. All players referenced Nancy’s importance to the development of the women’s tour.
Bud Collins reflected that Nancy was the first woman to hold a Davis Cup match outside of a private country club when she staged the 1965 Davis Cup match at Samuel Grand park in Dallas. Arthur Ashe played for the USA.