One of the up and comers was Susan Sloane, featured in the article below.
The article also providea glimpse into the tennis academy system that Nick Bolletieri pioneered.
`Life` Giving Sloane A Star Treatment
December 11, 1985|By Jim Sarni, Staff Writer
POMPANO BEACH — A day in the life of junior tennis player Susan Sloane.
Or rather, Life in the day of Susan Sloane.
The Lexington, Ky., 15-year-old, the top player on the United States` Continental Players Cup team, is the subject of a feature story for the March issue of Life magazine devoted to today`s teen-agers.
And for the past week, Sloane has been getting the star treatment.
Wednesday a Life photographer showed up in Bradenton to begin shooting Sloane at Nick Bollettieri`s Tennis Academy, where she lives and trains.
Monday the photographer was still on Sloane`s trail as she walked along the beach and relaxed in her motel room. Tuesday the scene shifted to the Pompano Beach Tennis Center, where Sloane helped the top-seeded Americans survive a 2-1 opening-round victory over Yugoslavia in the Continental Players Cup.
After Yugoslavia`s Karmen Skulj defeated Cammy McGregor 6-3, 6-2, Sloane stopped Aila Winkler 6-3, 6-2 to even the singles. McGregor and Stephanie London then beat Skulj and Winkler 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) in the deciding doubles.
One can`t blame Life for focusing on Sloane. She is bright, talented and attractive. Agents have been whispering in her ear since she was 11.
Sloane could be one of America`s elite by the end of the decade. Right now, Sloane is tentatively ranked No. 3 in the country in Girls` 18s behind Stephanie Rehe and Mary Joe Fernandez. Rehe turned pro at the U.S. Open and has won two tournaments. Fernandez began to be a headliner when she became the youngest player to win a match in a pro tournament, at Bonaventure in 1984.
Sloane, who turned 15 last week, has been making slower, but steady, strides. After winning the Girls` 18 hardcourts, her fifth national title, she won the USTA pro tournament in Birmingham, Ala., then qualified for the U.S. Open.
``Pro tennis is my goal, and I`m working on it,`` said Sloane, a ninth- grader. ``I`ve done well at the nationals and in some pro tournaments. But I still have a long way to go.``
Sloane will get her first pro ranking Jan. 1, but she is not going to rush into a full-time professional career.
``I`ll turn pro when I`m ready,`` she said. ``Rehe turned pro at the right time. She played pro tournaments for about two years first.``
Sloane is grooming her game at Bollettieri`s, the finishing school of many pros.
``In Lexington, there are not many people to play with,`` said Sloane, who does not ride a horse or shoot an 18-foot jump shot from the top of the key.
``My coach has been working with Nick, and I decided to move there at the end of September. It`s a lot easier at the academy. Everything is right there, the tennis, Nautilus. In Kentucky, I`d have to go to all these different places.``
Sloane, the daughter of a dry-cleaner, started playing at 6; she is a typical teen-ager off the court. She listens to Duran Duran, reads Danielle Steele and watches Family Ties.
She does not seem to be in too much of a hurry to turn pro and make a million dollars.
But this week she has gotten a taste of the glamorous Life.
``I guess all the attention goes along with being a tennis player,`` Sloane said. ``It`s something you have to deal with. I can handle it.``
At the Sunshine Cup in Plantation, the defending champion United States beat Denmark 2-1 in its first match. John Boytim and Juan Farrow won their singles matches but lost the doubles.
Top-seeded Sweden, No. 2 Argentina and No. 3 Yugoslavia also advanced.