Atlanta Team Overcomes Adversity at Sectionals


Story and photos by Ron Cioffi/USTA Southern

Katrina Anderson said she was looking for the right time to pick up tennis.

“I always wanted to play tennis but didn’t have the opportunity” because of family demands, Anderson said. Then, three years ago, the newly single empty nester was invited by a friend to attend a clinic. Now Anderson is captain of a 2.5 Georgia team competing (at the USTA League Southern Section Championships) this weekend.

Before a Saturday match at Medal of Honor Park, Anderson talked about her team and the sport they’ve all embraced. “I met all of the women on my current team at the clinic and we’ve been together ever since,” she said. “We all love to play.

“We joined a team out of Washington Park. We had a 3.0 team and I was co-captain. But we were getting killed. So, we split up into a 2.5 team and a 3.0 team. I became the captain of the 2.5 team.”

Anderson’s joy was evident as she talked about her dedication to the sport. Asked if she knew that two-time USTA President and CEO Katrina Adams shared her first name, she said yes, beaming with pride.

Everything was going great with the Atlanta team until an accident Friday night challenged Anderson’s organizational skills.

Team member Beth Smith’s husband was riding his motorcycle back in Atlanta when, she said, he was forced off the road. The accident was serious but he is in stable condition. While Smith headed home in a rush, also running back with her was her sister-in-law, Paula Smith, who is also on the team.

Suddenly, Anderson was down two players with a team that barely had enough to field all lines. She quickly shifted around the lineup while her teammates dealt with the shocking news.

“The key is to play and we’re here to do that,” Anderson said.

The Atlanta team did just that Saturday. Though the outcome might not have been what they had wanted, the team members still in Mobile came off the court and rallied around their missing friends. And the good news is Smith’s husband continues to improve.



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