Local tennis pro wins at USTA Nationals | VailDaily.com

Local tennis pro wins at USTA Nationals

Andrew Harley

Local tennis stud Karen Gallagher returned from the United States Tennis Association National Grass Court Championships at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. – where the U.S. Open used to be held before it was moved to Flushing Meadows, N.Y. – with her 16th Golden Ball.

Gallagher, who has been a tennis pro at Homestead Court Club in Edwards for 10 years, and partner Tina Karwasky, of Glendale, Calif., won the 2003 Doubles championship match against Lil Peltz-Petow and Cindy Leprovost, both from Florida, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1.

“Tina and I played pretty well together,” said Gallagher. “We lost a total of three games through the first three rounds.”

The Golden Ball completed Gallagher’s collection, giving her a USTA Championship Title on every surface, including hard, clay, indoor and grass.

Gallagher has been competing at USTA Nationals for the past 17 years, and of her 16 national championships, she has won four singles titles, four mixed-doubles titles and eight doubles titles – she has been the most victorious on hard court and indoor surfaces.

“I probably won’t participate in any more national tournaments this year,” said Gallagher. “But I plan on playing in the Homestead Senior Open in August.”

Gallagher, who works as a ski instructor for Vail Resorts at Beaver Creek in the winters, began her tennis career at the age of 15. She chose tennis because it was the only sport offered to girls at her Pennsylvanian high school aside from cheerleading.

Gallagher and Karwasky were seeded No. 1 going into the tournament, and played four rounds out of the 18-team draw.

“It was a wonderful win,” said Gallagher. “It was the one I was missing, and it was really nice to get it after six tries. Seven must be my lucky number.”

Gallagher also placed in the singles tournament. She lost in the semifinals to her partner, Karwasky, who went on to win the singles title.

“A question I am frequently asked is “How do you get ready to play on grass?'” said Gallagher. “I say, “Mow the grass the day before,’ or, “Spend lots of time on the golf course.’ Grass is a unique surface. Grass courts in this country are much different than in Wimbledon. The ball bounces slightly higher than snakes’ hips on grass, and grass is slicker than loon’s poop. Balls tend to retain a lot of moisture on grass, and grass stains make balls very heavy.”

Gallagher has earned silver and bronze at the International Tennis Federation World Championships. She’s been selected to play on USA Cup teams and has been dubbed Colorado Sportswoman of the Year in the Masters Tennis category twice.

Gallagher would like to thank all of her supporters, friends and family at Homestead. And, she would like to dedicate her 16th Golden Ball to Brian Hauff.

Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or aharley@vaildaily.com.

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