Venerable tennis coach John Wilkerson, tennis great Chanda Rubin (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Dave Black, Zina Garrison, Phyllis Williams, Mark Miller (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Tennis Express' Brad Blume, Lori McNeil (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Lilly & Thurmon Andress (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Emcee Rachel McNeill, chair Lara Lehmann (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Shelley Taylor Ludwick, Mark & Jennifer Taylor (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Honorary chairs Sheila & Paul Adams, guest speaker Chanda Rubin (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Mariann DeSwardt, Bev Taylor, Sandra Hughes (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Liz Wooland, Joanne Hresko (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Ted & Dayna Erck, Ann & Bill Heim (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Ann & Michael Wilde (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Kylie Hornbeck, Jose Arriaga, Jennifer Mak (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Peter Farrell, Cheryl Hultquist (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Randy & Sara Ortwein (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Rev. Rusti Moore, Vinh Lam, Jeni Dao (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Susan Bramlette, Yvette Simpson, Erik Simpson (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Tina Beddow, Bronwyn Greer, Cindy Benzon (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
The “Game Set Match Gala & Tennis Fashion Show” served as something of a homecoming for Tennis Channel broadcaster Chanda Rubin, who recalled training at Houston’s MacGregor Park with tennis pros Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil.
“Before there was Richard Williams with Venus and Serena, there was John Wilkerson,” Rubin said of the revered Houston tennis coach. “It was inspirational.”
The former Grand Slam Doubles Champion and Olympian who reached No. 6 in singles in the world rankings in 1996 told the gathering at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, “I was thrilled to see players who looked like me and awed to be hitting with Zina and Lori.”
Both Garrison, who today heads her namesake tennis academy, and McNeil joined the evening that raised funds for the youth development programs of Houston Tennis Association (HTA) National Junior Tennis & Learning, (NJTL) which provides free tennis and educational classes and scholarship opportunities of area youth.
Also joining the fundraiser was former KPRC Channel 2 news anchor Rachel McNeill, who flew in from her post as an anchor at the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, to reprise her role as emcee.
It was a special evening for longtime NJTL volunteer Bev Taylor, who hits the tennis courts three times a week and turned 80 only a few days after the event. The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to the woman who proves that tennis is a lifetime sport.
PC Seen: Honorary chairs Sheila and Paul Adams, gala chair Lara Lehman, Lilly and Thurmon Andress, Claire and John Goosey, Yvette and Erik Simpson, Efe Ustundag and Suur Biliciler, Shelley Taylor Ludwig, HTA president Peter Farrell, HTA executive director Cheryl Hultquist and Charles Hooper, and Brad Blume of Tennis Express, which presented the fashion show.