(Photo courtesy of Molly Hall)
Martha Frederick had a ball on Thursday.
And not only because the Vancouver woman collected her second gold ball by winning a national tennis championship.
The 90-year-old Frederick teamed with Lovie Beard of Houston to win the doubles championship for women 90 and older in the national indoor tournament at Club Green Meadows in Vancouver. Frederick and Beard defeated Dodo Cheney and Betty Cookson in three sets, 7-6, 1-6, 6-4.
That match was part of the United States Tennis Association National Women's 70, 80 and 90 Indoor Championships. The tournament included 44 players from around the United States. The tournament concluded on Sunday with singles title matches in 70-plus and 80-plus tournaments.
"One of the great fun matches I've ever played," Frederick said.
One of the highlights was a back-and-forth at the net with Cookson, who eventually won the point.
"Betty and I were laughing as we high-fived each other at the net," Frederick said.
The match was a chance to play against a tennis legend. Cheney, 96, is a member of the International Tennis Federation Hall of Fame and in 1938 became the first American woman to win the Australian Championship (now the Australian Open). She was a runner-up seven times in Grand Slam doubles tournaments.
"Dodo set the tempo for the match," Frederick said.
"It took a great deal of concentration playing against Dodo. Everything she hits is a slice. If she can reach it the ball, it will slice a real different direction."
Frederick, who will turn 91 in December, was scheduled to play Beard for the 90-and-older singles title on Friday. But Beard, 90, withdrew because of injury. That meant a second gold ball for Frederick, and a repeat of the 90-plus singles title she won last October.
Frederick plays tennis three days a week at the Vancouver Tennis Center. She credits her fitness and coordination at 90 to always playing with younger players.
There were no other entries in the 90-and-older age group, so Frederick only played the one match for her doubles crown.
Kaye Goheen from Battle Ground was the other local participant in the annual indoor championships. She and partner Lucille Karasinski of New Jersey lost both of their matches in the doubles tournament for women 70-79.