Scotts Valley tennis player to play in senior world championships
by Peter Burke
Apr 17, 2014 | 5392 views | 0 0 comments | 150 150 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
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Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
Lucjan Szewczyk/Press-Banner
slideshow
Scotts Valley’s Judy Newman has been slipping and sliding on a clay court surface in town for the past several months as she prepares for the International Tennis Federation Senior World Championships.

Newman, 51, was honored as one of four players on the U.S. team in the 50-plus age bracket at the event which runs April 21 through May 26 in Palm Beach, Fla. Her teammates include captain Tracy Houk from Half Moon Bay, Vicki Buhlotz from Texas and Fran Chandler from Tennessee.

“It’s like the Olympics for senior tennis players,” Newman said. “I’m excited.”

This is Newman’s second go-around on the U.S. senior team. She competed in the over-45 division in 2012 when the team finished 5th in the world. There are five senior divisions, ranging from 35 to 55 years old for men and women.

The following week Newman will compete in the singles championship, which runs through May 1 at the same location.

Newman said the tournament includes an opening ceremony where players carry their country’s flag and everyone must wear their countries uniform for easy identification.

The teams will advance in a bracket and each round includes two singles matches and a doubles match — the country that wins two of those moves on to the next round.

“I think (we) have a pretty strong team this year,” Newman said.

Newman, who grew up in Santa Cruz and graduated from Harbor High School, is the teaching professional at La Madrona Country Club.

She is excited to be on the team, and has developed into one of the top senior players in the country. She maintains a high level of fitness and does yoga to remain limber.

Newman describes her style of play as being all over the court, which is relatively unusual because many hard court players like to sit back on the baseline and rally. She prides herself on her quick hands and she loves to volley during points.

The challenges at the World Championships will be the surface, clay, and the hot, humid Florida weather.

Newman and many U.S. players, spend the majority of their time on hard court surfaces, so the clay at the World Championships presents a new challenge.

“The clay is a different animal,” she said.

During practice sessions, Newman particularly focuses on sliding on the slippery clay surface, and changing directions after striking the ball.

She’s spending extra time preparing because many of her competitors at the World Championships will be European players who spend much of their time on clay, which is more popular in Europe.

“A lot of them are clay court specialists, and I am a hard court girl,” she said.

Organizers will regularly post results of the multi-day tournament at www.itfseniorsworldchampionships2014.com.

Newman also hopes to share regular updates with the Press-Banner at www.pressbanner.com.

- To comment, e-mail editor Peter Burke at peter@pressbanner.com, call 438-2500 or post a comment at www.pressbanner.com.

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