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Susan Sloane to Southern Tennis Hall of Fame

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Mike McNulty, Susan Sloane Inducted into Southern Tennis Hall of Fame

ATLANTA – OCTOBER 30, 2020 The Southern Tennis Foundation and USTA Southern announced today two tennis luminaries have been inducted into the 2021 class of the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.

 

The following were elected to the Hall of Fame during a recent meeting of the Selection Committee:

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Mike McNulty, of New Orleans, has been a dedicated volunteer for four levels of the USTA, starting with the founding of the Lake Area Community Tennis Association and leading USTA Louisiana and USTA Southern as President. Following a term as USTA First President, McNulty currently has the post of USTA President-Elect in anticipation of his election as USTA Chairman of the Board and President for the 2021-22 term.

 

Susan Sloane, of Lexington, Ky., was a Kentucky high school champion in the sixth grade and a five-time USTA junior champion. While playing on the WTA tour, she rose to No. 19 in the world and won the 1988 WTA Virginia Slims of Nashville singles title. She has been inducted into the Kentucky Tennis and Kentucky Athletic halls of fame.

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lucy Garvin Southern Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will not be held in January 2021. McNulty and Sloane are now scheduled to be honored in the 2022 ceremony and banquet. The ceremony is traditionally conducted during the USTA Southern Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

 

Established in 1977 with the induction of Bitsy Grant and Ham Richardson, the Hall of Fame has grown to 112 members. Other notable members include Stan Smith, Chanda Rubin, Roscoe Tanner, Gordon A. Smith, Linda Tuero, Gardner Mulloy and Lucy Garvin. The Southern Tennis Foundation’s website contains information on the hall, inductees and its charitable mission. The hall is located in the USTA Southern office in Peachtree Corners, Ga.

 

Mike McNulty
Family Influence Fueled Rise to USTA Helm

  • Currently serving USTA President-Elect and is slated to be elected USTA Chairman of the Board and President for the 2021-22 term after serving as USTA First Vice President.
  • Elected as USTA Southern President in 2011. Also served as Southern Tennis Foundation Chair and as Section Delegate to the USTA.
  • Served as USTA Louisiana President.
  • Inducted into the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame.
  • Chaired the Truist Altanta Open Tournament Committee (called the BB&T Atlanta Open at that time).
  • Honored with USTA Southern awards: Jacobs Bowl, the Charlie B. Morris Service Award and the President’s Award.
  • His family is the recipient of the USTA Louisiana Mickey McNulty Family of the Year Award.
  • Winner of the Louisiana Father/Son Championship with his father, Mickey.
  • Named to the Best Lawyers in America-Insurance Law and Personal Injury and Best Lawyers in Louisiana.

Susan Sloane
Love of Tennis Drove Her to WTA title and No. 19 Ranking

  • Captured three Kentucky high school singles titles from sixth through eighth grades
  • No. 1 in USTA Southern girls’ 12s at the ages of 9 and 10
  • Winner of five USTA national girls’ titles
  • Trained at the Bollettieri IMG Academy
  • Won the 1988 WTA Virginia Slims of Nashville singles title
  • Reached No. 19 in the world in 1989
  • Inducted into the Kentucky Tennis and Kentucky Athletic halls of fame
  • Former owner of the Kentucky Tennis Academy
  • Teaches at the Top Seed Tennis Club

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Susan Sloane

Love of tennis drove her to WTA title and No. 19 ranking

 

Susan Sloane’s journey to the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame was four decades in the making. And it all began with a love for the game.

 

“I became obsessed with it,” said Sloane, of Lexington, Ky. “It was just this tennis connection. I was lucky enough to have the talent and I wanted to play all the time.

 

“I had an unusual story,” she said. “No one in my family had any tennis background. They didn’t know how to keep score. They didn’t have their own agenda and we had to listen to people who knew what they were talking about. My older sister played other sports and decided to go out for Tates Creek High School tennis team. That’s when I was introduced to tennis.”

 

Saying she got lucky, Sloane added, “I think it was meant for me to play. The Lexington Tennis Club was two miles away.” There she came under the tutelage of coach Fritz Nau.

 

Nau, who has been developing top-level tennis juniors for decades, said, “If it wasn’t for Susan, I wouldn’t be a tennis coach.” He added that he was a basketball player and coach in Lexington but was looking to expand his involvement in other sports. “Susan was so good that everyone in tennis thought I knew what I was talking about.

 

“In the first time I coached her, she was six years old. She hit a ball into the net and I told her not to do that. Then, she didn’t miss a ball for an hour and a half. Within six months, she was practicing two to three hours a day. She was so good mentally. The best player I ever coached.”

 

Sloane remembers not winning her first trip to the Kentucky State Championship. Then again, she was only in the fifth grade! She did capture three straight titles the next three years, from 1983-85. Skyrocketing up the Southern rankings, she reached No. 1 in the 12s for two years when she was 9 years old and played in the national championship.

 

Beginning with her victory in the 1981 12s National Indoors, a rivalry grew between Sloane and Mary Joe Fernandez – the former No. 4, Fed Cup captain and current broadcaster – that would continue through their junior and pro careers.

 

“I was super competitive, and she was, too,” Sloane explained.

 

Other junior national titles for the Kentuckian were the 1982 12s Clay Court, 1984 14s and 16s Indoor, and the 1985 18s Hard Court.

 

She lived at the acclaimed Bollettieri IMG Academy for more than two years. She also was coached by Dennis Emery, the longtime men’s tennis coach at the University of Kentucky. “I worked one-on-one (with Emery) and practiced ‘with the guys,’” she said, referring to the men’s players.

 

Emery recalled, “I worked with Susan from age 16 to 21. During that time, she went from 130 in the world to top 20 for three straight years. During that period, we would work four to five hours a day. It was a heavy workload because Susan had the best mind I had ever seen. Her ability to focus intently for long periods of times was almost superhuman. It was what made her great. Her mind was her best weapon.”

 

In 1986, Sloane did what many highly-rated girls did: She went pro. “I was ranked No. 3 in 18s and Mary Joe was No. 2. We all turned pro at basically the same time. If you weren’t ready to turn pro at 17, you missed your opportunity. It’s a great thing for girls now to be able to go to college and that gives them a lot more time to mature.”

 

In 1988, she won a WTA title at the Virginia Slims of Nashville. She reached No. 19 in 1989. Also, she advanced to the round of 32 four times in Grand Slams in 1988-89.

“I always loved the US Open, New York and staying in the city,” she said of her pro career. “Chris Evert was always the player I looked up to.

 

“In at least two matches, I came back from being way down,” she said. “In New Orleans. I was down 5-1, 40-15 came back and won that way in the French Open first round, too. Even if you’re 99 percent out of the match, it shows that you’re never really out of it. That’s where tennis is such a mental game. It makes you have to finish out the match.”

 

Sloane owned and operated the Kentucky Tennis Academy from 1995-2002, coaching multiple competitive junior players as well as teaching adults.

 

“I’ve ebbed and flowed with teaching,” she said. “Also, I’ve stayed home with my kids. Now I’m a full-time realtor.” She currently teaches at the new Top Seed Tennis Club in Nicholasville, Ky., and runs numerous top-level junior tournaments at the facility.

 

Sloane was inducted into the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.

 

Highlights

  • Captured three Kentucky high school singles titles from sixth through eighth grades
  • No. 1 in USTA Southern girls’ 12s at the ages of 9 and 10
  • Winner of five USTA national girls’ titles
  • Trained at the Bollettieri IMG Academy
  • Won the 1988 WTA Virginia Slims of Nashville singles title
  • Reached No. 19 in the world in 1989
  • Inducted into the Kentucky Tennis and Kentucky Athletic halls of fame
  • Owned the Kentucky Tennis Academy
  • Teaches at the Top Seed Tennis Club

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