By Kathy Day
Tennis brought Marita Redondo and Terry Holladay together when they were 10 years old; on Aug. 25 they’ll be together again when they are inducted into the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame.
Redondo, the sports director at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club, and Holladay, a Realtor with Willis Allen’s Rancho Santa Fe office, both lay claim to lengthy careers on the pro circuit having played on the Virginia Slims tour in the 1970s; Holladay continued playing until 1988.
They’ll join Roy Barth, a “world class, college great, junior standout”; Dick Roberson, known as a premier official and for his community service; and former Union-Tribune sportswriter Jerry Magee in the Class of 2012, said Larry Belinksy. A Rancho Santa Fe resident and Canyon Crest Academy assistant tennis coach, he came up with the idea in 2005 for the Hall of Fame that is housed at the Balboa Tennis Club at Morley Field.
Holladay and Redondo both said they are honored to be selected. And they both said one of the best things they gained from tennis was their friendship.
Redondo, who played on the Virginia Slims Tour from 1973 (a year before she graduated from Our Lady of Peace) to 1980 and twice qualified for the Tour championship, says she wouldn’t have had the career she did without the San Diego Tennis Patrons and the Balboa Tennis Club.
Coming from a family of nine, she said she was “so lucky, so fortunate” to have their support and appreciates that the achievements of the local tennis community are saluted in the Hall of Fame.
Most of her brothers and sisters still play tennis; her son John is the head pro at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club and son Gannon is one of the pros on the Big Island of Hawaii, while son Nick is more of a basketball guy.
Redondo hasn’t played much lately because she was “breaking down,” she said, but still loves the game and occasionally watches on TV.
Today’s game, she added, “is more of a business than when Billie Jean (King) and I and Chrissie (Evert) grew up. We traveled a lot on our own and some had coaches. Now it’s a full entourage.”
Noting that she was never pushed to be a good player, she said, “I played because it was my passion. Today it’s a job for many.”
Holladay, her fellow inductee and friend, also started playing when she was “10 or so.” Growing up in La Jolla, she played some at Morley Field, but primarily at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. She was on the La Jolla High tennis team and turned pro in 1974 just after graduation. That led to a successful career on the Virginia Slims Tour and, like Redondo, she also played World Team Tennis.
Her oldest daughter Tasha, now her partner in Homes by the Holladays at Willis Allen, traveled with her on the circuit from the time she was three months old until she was 5. She has two other children, Louis and Maggie, and her first grandchild was born six months ago.
While Holladay said she still “plays here and there” and competed in the 2011 Women’s 40 and Over nationals, she hasn’t been on a court for about six months,.
Like Redondo, she gives much credit to Belinsky for his efforts with the Hall of Fame.
“He’s a fantastic ambassador of the game of tennis,” Holladay said. “Arnie, his dad, and the whole family are good friends of the game.”
A tennis player himself who played at UC Berkeley and San Diego State, Belinsky felt that the local greats should be recognized and took his plan to the San Diego District Tennis Association shortly after he and his wife visited Newport, R.I., while on a trip to take their daughter to the Rhode Island School of Design.
There they were, he recalled, “in the tennis mecca, the International Hall of Fame. Until then I had subscribed to tennis periodicals and read a lot about small towns with their halls of fame. … I said to myself, ‘Why shouldn’t San Diego have its own?’ “
Known as one of the hotbeds of tennis and home to players such as Maureen Connolly Brinker, Ben Press and Karen Hantze Sussman, he figured the time had arrived to honor them.
“I didn’t want to lose sight of the great names of San Diego tennis,” he said.
Using his experience in the retail business — his family owned Arnold’s Furniture where he worked before later starting a company called the Country Furniture Faire — he “sold’ the idea to the SDDTA board. They bought in, he used his business contacts to get a trophy case built and signage donated, and the first class was honored in 2006.
Still heading the selection committee, Belinsky freely admits the Hall of fame is “my little baby.” A selection committee helps vet the nominations. They select people in several categories: world class; college great and junior standouts; coaches, teaching pros and mentors; community service, philanthropy, officiating and media; and senior success.
Once they name the inductees, Belinsky gets to tell them and gather some of their memorabilia for the trophy case. It’s always fun, he said, to get their reactions.
Dick Roberson, now a Phoenix resident, “almost started to cry he was so touched,” he said, noting that Roberson and Barth, who lives in South Carolina, will be coming with their families to the event.
They won’t be alone. Both Holladay and Redondo said their families will definitely be with them on Aug. 25 to share the honor — and the public is invited to join the fun as well, Belinsky noted.
• Grew up in National City in family of nine -- “a big tennis family,” played junior tennis at Morley Field, graduated from Our Lady of Peace
• Ranked fifth in U.S. in 1976; best world ranking was ninth
• Won U.S. nationals in 14-under and 16-under; runner-up in 18 and under
• Virginia Slims Tour 1973-1980, qualified for championships twice
1973 Wightman Cup doubles team with Chris Evert
• World Team Tennis L.A. Strings and Seattle Cascades.
• Inducted into San Diego Hall of Champions
• Favorite memory: Beating Yvonne Goolagong Cawley in the semis in a tournament in Akron, Ohio.
• Now sports director at Lomas Santa Fe Country Club; also worked at Handlery Swim and Tennis club and Frog’s Athletic Club
• Grew up in La Jolla, brother and three sisters all play tennis; and graduated from La Jolla High; played at La Jolla Beach &Tennis Club, La Jolla Tennis Club and Morley Field
• Joined Virginia Slims Tour in 1974, playing every year until 1988 except 1982 when pregnant with her first child
• Highest world ranking 10th; made round of 16 at Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 1976 and 1980
• Career wins over Billy Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Virginia Wade
• World Team Tennis San Diego Friars and Boston Lobsters
• Favorite memory: Two seasons playing World Team tennis with Martina Navratilova as her partner in Boston when they went 42-2
• With her late husband Dr. Phil Higginbottom, founded the Dina Humanitarian Foundation to provide experiences in infectious diseases for residents at Scripps Green Hospital
• Currently works with her daughter Tasha as a real estate team, Homes by the Holladays, with Willis Allen
• To learn more about the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame go to
• Induction Ceremony
• Saturday, Aug. 25, 4:30 p.m.
• Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Stadium, Balboa Tennis Club at Morley Field
• No Charge, but a $16 per person charge for dinner reception that follows
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