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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 11:23 AM   #1
doloresc
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Leslie Allen (career highlights and her foundation)





"Literally and figuratively, Leslie Allen has stood head and shoulders above me ever since we were two New York kids training at the same tennis camp. It was plain to see by the way she competed and the grace she showed both on and off the court that Leslie was going to be a very special person. Like Arthur Ashe before her, she could have pointed her passion in so many directions. Fortunately for us all her tennis foundation will give children the gift of tennis and the skills to lead a truly rewarding life."

--Mary Carillo


Career Highlights

Member USC NCAA National Championship tennis team

American Tennis Association Singles Champion

10-year veteran Women's Tennis Association (WTA) TOUR

Achieved world ranking of # 17, competed at Wimbledon, US, French, and the Australian Open

Captured in 1981,the Avon Championships of Detroit to become the first African American woman to win a major tennis tournament since Althea Gibson won the US Open in 1958.

Two-Time VP Women's Tennis Association (WTA)

TV Broadcaster, Corporate Spokesperson & Journalist

Corporate Executive and International Media Director

GAME PLAN, Inc. , an Event Marketing, Promotions, & Public Relations firm.

Founder: Allen Tennis Training Academy

Restaurateur: Allen's, Amelia Island, FL.

Highest world ranked (#17) player ever to compete on the WTA TOUR with a college degree.

Ms. Allen currently resides in New York City with husband Kenneth L. Selmore, president of KLS Financial, a financial services company and their 6-year-old daughter Rachel "Hurricane" Selmore.
Full Story

Ohio High School Sports History
Leslie Allen, a native of Cleveland Ohio, grew up in a tennis playing family yet did not regularly play tennis or compete in tournaments as a junior. Never ranked nationally by the USTA she was one of the top professional tennis players of her generation. Thanks in part to Title IX legislation, and legal action, she was the number one player on Cleveland's Glenville High School boy's tennis team and the first girl in the state of Ohio to play on a boy's high school team.

NCAA Champion
A junior year walk-on, she was a member of the University of Southern California's # 1 ranked national championship tennis team and graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Speech Communications.

WTA Tour Veteran
After a 3 month tour in Australia (sponsored by Pyramid Tennis Association) for her first international tournaments, in 1977 Leslie earned her first WTA Tour world ranking of #177. By 1979 she was competing in the main draw of Wimbledon, the French, US, and Australian Open. Allen went on to be one of the top 10 players in the US and achieved a career high ranking of #17 in the world.

In 1981 at the Avon Championships of Detroit, Leslie established her place in tennis history as the first African American woman to win a major tennis event since Althea Gibson's 1958 US Open victory. Allen competed on the WTA Tour for a decade; in addition to her singles titles, she was also a French Open Mixed Doubles Finalist and the holder of several WTA Tour Doubles Championships.

Spokesperson
Allen served as technical consultant to Prince Manufacturing, NIKE and as a spokesperson to Avon Products where she conceived and implemented a public relations campaign targeted to eight major US markets to increase media exposure for Avon's sponsorship of women's professional tennis. Allen also travels across the nation as a motivational speaker.

Television Broadcaster/Journalist
For TV networks including CBS, MSG, USA, WGN, and ESPN Allen has provided broadcast commentary at the French Open, Avon Championships, the Virginia Slims series, Kraft Tour, and other WTA Tour international tournaments. Allen also has had several articles published in various tennis publications.

Vice President
Ms. Allen was elected to the WTA Board of Directors and was a two time Vice President. She was instrumental in drafting rules and regulations for the women's tour, was the WTA spokesperson and liaison between players, corporate sponsors, governing bodies and the media.

Corporate & Business Career
At Kraft General Foods, Leslie joined the ranks of the corporate tennis world as an Event Manager where again she developed international promotional concepts and brand marketing strategies for Kraft General Food's tennis tour sponsorship.

At the USTA she was the Tournament Director for the ACURA U.S. Women's Hardcourt's in Stratton Mt., Vermont; the first African American Tournament Director in professional tennis. She was also a member of the US Open Committee.

For the Arthur Ashe Endowment, Leslie has directed all aspects of the Endowment's U.S. Open booth fundraising activities and other special events.

At the Jackie Robinson Foundation, a national scholarship organization for minority students, she was the Director of Development and Public Relations.

At GAME PLAN, Inc. an event marketing, promotions and public relations firm. Leslie is the president and CEO. Clients have included: The Arthur Ashe Endowment, Chase Manhattan Bank, Maxim Magazine, Mickey Mantle's Restaurant, National Marrow Donor Program, NYC Parks Foundation, Pyramid Tennis Association, Sehorn's Corner, and the Women's Sports Foundation.

In the late 1980's Leslie operated Allen Tennis Training Academy in Jacksonville Florida, a summer residential camp as well as co-owned and managed Allen's Restaurant in Amelia Island, Florida.

Varsity Tennis Coach at Riverdale Country School in Riverdale, NY.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 01:52 PM   #2
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Wow! Leslie's quite the renaisance woman! When did she retire? what were some of her on-court stats? Who was her highest ranked victim?
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 11:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark36
Wow! Leslie's quite the renaisance woman! When did she retire? what were some of her on-court stats? Who was her highest ranked victim?
yes she really is. i'm impressed that she has given back to tennis so much. go to http://www.leslieallen.net for her foundation info including work with young tennis hopefuls.

my sources aren't that reliable but it looks like she retired in 1987. she only won 1 title (detroit in 1981). her best grand slam performance was a 4th round showing at roland garros in 1981; she made the 3rd round of the other 3 majors.

i'm sorry i don't have scores but head-to-head (according to tennis corner) leslie is--

4-1 vs. hana mandlikova
2-0 vs. jo durie
1-3 vs. mima jausovec
1-3 vs. rosalyn nideffer
2-0 vs. barbara potter
2-0 vs. kathy rinaldi
2-0 vs. kathy jordan
1-2 vs. virginia ruzici
1-1 vs. anne smith
1-0 vs. andrea temesvari
2-6 vs. bettina bunge
0-2 vs. tracy austin
0-2 vs. chris evert
0-1 vs. zina garrison
0-4 vs. andrea jaeger
0-2 vs. billie jean king
0-2 vs. manuela maleeva-fragniere
0-3 vs. martina navratilova
0-3 vs. pam shriver
0-6 vs. wendy turnbull
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 11:27 PM   #4
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4-1 h2h against hana one of my favourites?! i vaguely remember leslie as amrk said she's a rennaisance woman indeed.
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Old Mar 16th, 2003, 03:43 AM   #5
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Leslie beat Hana to win the Avon of Detroit in 1981.

It should also be mentioned that the first African-American woman to win a singles title since Althea was actually Renee Blount who won the Avon Futures of Columbus in 1979. Because it was a Futures event, I think the WTA tends to forget about that one. But it still counted as a tour win - just like Tracy's win in Portland in 1977.

Anyway, thanks, Dolores, for posting the stats on Leslie. A few years ago at the U.S. Open, Leslie's daughter was seriously ill and I remember players like Martina N, Lori, Zina etc. volunteering to give blood. I think she needed a bone marrow match or something but I trust she has recovered and is doing better now.

When I first checked out the foundation website, my first thought was: "What happened to Leslie's Young Tennis Divas program?" But now I see it is the same program, just renamed.

That photo of Leslie with Arthur & Jeanne is a nice one
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Old Mar 22nd, 2003, 09:39 PM   #6
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Thanx for this doloresc

I can remember Leslie coming to Australia a fair bit in the 80's. Here is a snippet of a match against Evonne Cawley in the Aus Open.

'Cawley had started her comeback during the 81 Australian season with moderate success in perth and Sydney and the fans still loved her unflustered on court manner. A vocal Kooyong crowd inspired her figting 5-7 6-3 6-4 2nd rnd triumph over black American Leslie Allen the world's 19th rankeed player. Cawley trailled 2-4 and 15-40 in the 3rd and with the crowd roaring approval, reeled off 8 straight points to square the match and captured 16 of the last 21 for an amazing recovery. It was a tearful start to a wonderful week - Allen wept because the fans cheered her mistakes against Cawley.....'

Don't hold this against us Leslie!
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Old Mar 25th, 2003, 12:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louloubelle
Thanx for this doloresc

I can remember Leslie coming to Australia a fair bit in the 80's. Here is a snippet of a match against Evonne Cawley in the Aus Open.

'Cawley had started her comeback during the 81 Australian season with moderate success in perth and Sydney and the fans still loved her unflustered on court manner. A vocal Kooyong crowd inspired her figting 5-7 6-3 6-4 2nd rnd triumph over black American Leslie Allen the world's 19th rankeed player. Cawley trailled 2-4 and 15-40 in the 3rd and with the crowd roaring approval, reeled off 8 straight points to square the match and captured 16 of the last 21 for an amazing recovery. It was a tearful start to a wonderful week - Allen wept because the fans cheered her mistakes against Cawley.....'

Don't hold this against us Leslie!
thanks louloubelle. i enjoy trivia like the information you posted cawley should've won this match in straight sets since kooyong was on grass and allen is more comfortable on the terre batue. looks like allen got a case of the jitters and the aussie fans willed their countrywoman back into the match.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 09:13 PM   #8
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Here's a NYT article on her historic win:

LESLIE ALLEN SCORES UPSET OVER HANA MANDLIKOVA
  • UPI Published: February 9, 1981


Unseeded Leslie Allen scored the biggest victory of her career when she toppled Hana Mandlikova of Czechoslovakia, 6-4, 6-4, today in the final of an Avon women's tennis tournament.

Miss Allen, 23-year-old New Yorker who ranks 45th in the world, earned $24,000, more than half her 1980 earnings of $40,513.

Her victory was the first by a black woman in a tour event since Althea Gibson won Wimbledon and the United States titles in 1958. En route to the final, she beat Virginia Ruzici of Rumania, Mima Jausovec of Yugoslavia and, in the semifinals, the greatly improved Barbara Potter.

Miss Mandlikova, 19, who ranks fifth, lost her serve in the third game of the opening set. She was broken at the start of the second set and was down, 5-2, then started what looked like a comeback. But Miss Allen held firmly.

In the doubles final, Rosie Casals and Wendy Turnbull defeated Miss Mandlikova and Betty Stove, 6-4, 6-2.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 09:16 PM   #9
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Here is Leslie when she was coaching the women's tennis team at
Fordham University. She resigned in 2005 to work with the US Fed Cup
team.
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #10
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Allen's foundation has a big event every year at the Family Circle Cup

http://www.familycirclecup.com/pages...407210646.html
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Old Jul 12th, 2006, 09:22 PM   #11
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Here's her foundation. The mission is to bring tennis to inner city youth. There's a cool twist to it though-Allen is exposing them to jobs "behind the scenes" on the tour.

http://leslieallen.net/index.html
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 04:26 PM   #12
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Re: Leslie Allen (career highlights and her foundation)

Leslie in her own words

30 years ago I won the Avon Championships of Detroit. Actually it is
more remarkable that I was a WTA pro at all, let alone that I won a
major WTA event! As a kid I was indifferent at best on the court. Tennis
was what my mother played, not me. But in high school in 1973
I heard about Title IX (thanks Peachy) and thought "You mean girls
can play on college sports teams!" and World Team Tennis (thanks
Billie) made me think, "You mean tennis players can play on a pro
team too!" and Virginia Slims (Thanks Gladys) showed me that
women can get a check instead of a trophy for tennis. Tennis suddenly
made sense.

Compared to the path most take to the pros, my odyssey to the WTA
was quite unconventional. I did not hit a tennis ball between the
ages of 11 to 14, nor earn a ranking in Ohio juniors, yet as a high
school senior I suddenly wanted to see if I could become good
enough to play for a college, WTT, and ultimately on the WTA.
Somehow this seemed quite plausible to me, despite naysayers who
told me: I'd started too late, was never nationally ranked, and even
pointed out that I was black. Trying to ignore all, I set out on the journey to see just how far I could go and
college was next. By chance in 1975, I walked on to the University of Southern California campus, the August
before my junior year. Implausibly I was given an impromptu tryout and played well enough to earn
the bottom spot on the tennis team. I had a baseline game, no
serve, no volley, was truly afraid of the net. My teammates confidently
talked about turning pro so I secretly thought maybe I
could be a WTA pro too!

Fortunately, after college a major transformation took place in
my game as I toiled through the Pre-Qualies, Qualies and Futures
events. More importantly I learned what it took to be a WTA professional.
Billie Jean set the bar high in her locker-room version of
Pro U - telling me, and anyone around, that each WTA athlete had
a responsibility to the women's
game, the sponsors, the media,
and the fans. At first, based on
my journey it was hard to comprehend
that I was in the same
space as BJK, no less under her
tutelage. So I took Billie's edict
to heart and got involved.
In the early '80's our daily routine as players was often filled with situations
that would be simply ludicrous today. Yet somehow, like my counterparts,
I managed to circumnavigate the globe and the WTA without a
cell phone, call waiting, iPod, Internet, laptop, ATM, Euros, Facebook,
Twitter or Skype, and we had to use paper airline tickets, which you did
not want to lose. I endured and overcame each challenge with a sense
of pride knowing that I was helping grow women's tennis. After all BJK
said that was my responsibility!

Unseeded at the 1981 Avon Championships of Detroit, I swept
through the field beating top ten players and Grand Slam champions.
Toppling Hana Mandlikova in the final, I served and volleyed my
way to the title and into the top 20. My victory was a shocker and
big news all across the globe. The next day everyone woke up to the
headlines: “Allen Wins Avon Championships of Detroit, first black
woman to win a major tournament since Althea Gibson in 1957. “
In Detroit, it had been a challenge just to get news of my win to my
family. There were no instant tweets, emails, text messages, or calls
to a cell phone. In 1981, you planned your phone calls by setting up
a pre-determined time to call a pre-determined number, based on
schedules and whereabouts. So I had to wait hours after my victory,
until it was time to call home. From the WTA office phone Lee Jackson
dialed a number to a backstage payphone, as it was the opening
night for my mother's Broadway show and the call was timed for
right after her curtain call. Even though we did not have a speaker
phone, several of us gathered in the WTA office so we could wish my
mom Happy Birthday and tell her the news. When she came to the pay phone, Lee said "Sarah she won!
She won!" There was no response, the line was silent. Then we all burst into raucous laughter at the sight of
Lee standing there with the phone receiver in her hand and the disconnected curly phone cord just swinging
back and forth in the air.

The experiences on the WTA give me much food for thought as I continue to live up to the responsibility
and influence a new generation in my Foundation's Win4Life program. A smile always appears on my face
when I fondly remember how a simple victory phone call on the WTA was a challenge.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2012, 04:27 PM   #13
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Re: Leslie Allen (career highlights and her foundation)

Sorry about the editing, it was copy/paste from a pdf
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