Re: Dorothy Bundy Cheney
Cheney looks to pad record for tennis titles
Friday, February 13, 1987
Dorothy Bundy Cheney is not your ordinary tennis player. She is an example of how love for a sport can affect fitness.
She has played tournament matches against Alice Marble, Maureen Connolly and even Tracy Austin - some of the world's best players over a four-generation span.
Next week she will try to win the U.S. Tennis Association women's 60-and-over indoor
championships in singles and doubles at Mid-Town Tennis Club.
Mid-Town will host USTA indoor national finals in Women's 40s, 50s and 60s beginning Sunday. Billie Jean King and Mid-Town manager Pat Freebody will defend their title in 40 doubles and a big Chicago contingent is entered in all three age groups.
But none can approach the tennis longevity of Cheney, 70, from Santa Monica, Calif.
"The creed of the USTA is to make tennis a lifetime sport, and I'm trying to prove it," she said. "I've played all my life. I just love the game. I love competition and it has kept me in pretty good shape."
The USTA offers older players that opportunity. In addition to the indoor national, there are national tournaments up to the under-70 age group on clay, hard courts and grass for women and under-85 for men.
Cheney was ranked among the nation's top 10 from 1936 to 1946, with the exception of 1942 when she helped the World War II effort by working in an aircraft plant and didn't
Though King was a top 10 player for a record 18 years, few players can match Cheney's streak and none can match her 165 USTA national titles.
Cheney's father, Thomas Bundy, teamed with Maurice McLaughlin to win the USTA doubles titles from 1912-1914. Her mother won the U.S. Open singles and doubles title in 1904.
"My family was always supportive of my playing and that has helped," Cheney said. "I never felt guilty. And I've been fortunate in that I've had no layoffs for injuries."
Her husband, a polo player and pilot, died in 1982. They had three children and Cheney has eight grandchildren.
"My record in tournaments really started when I was 40," she said. "Before that I had the kids to raise.
"When I was kid and playing the circuit my contemporaries were Doris Hart, Margaret Osborne, Alice Marble, Maureen Connolly and Pauline Betz. They still play, but they don't compete. They've been at the top and don't have anything to prove."
Cheney feels she does, especially after learning that she had set a USTA record with her 60th national title.
"From then on I wanted to win more and make a record that will be difficult to surpass," she said. "I kept playing because of that extra incentive. Now I just want to keep on playing as long as I can waddle around the court."
She hardly waddles. "When I played my best tennis I was quite heavy," she said. "I was over 145 pounds. For the last several years I have ranged between 130-135."
Last year she won 14 USTA national age group titles in singles and doubles. Though she is eligible to play in the 40s and 50s next week, she will participate only in the oldest age group. "That's plenty to keep me busy," she said.
Cheney said she doesn't practice much any more.
"I average at least a couple tournaments a month," she said. "I try not to play too much in between because I like to keep my zest, zeal and enthusiasm to compete. If I practiced every day I would get stale."
Her doubles partner will be Betty Brink, 62, of Mill Valley, Calif. Brink is not entered in singles.