“Tennis is mostly mental. You win or lose the match before you even go out there.”
– Venus Williams

Ask any tennis player and they will tell you that the game can be a challenging and demanding sport—but also exhilarating and fun. Unlike team sports, in tennis there are no coaches on the sidelines, timeouts, player substitutions or a 2-minute warning. You’re all alone—like boxing. So many environmental factors. Various court surfaces (asphalt, clay, grass), indoor or outdoor venues, mental distractions, and injuries. And, there’s no fixed period. The longest-ever pro tennis match was a grueling 11 hours; the shortest, 23 minutes. With all these variables, probably the worst scenario is an injury.

So, when Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the No 1 women’s doubles champ in 2017, suffered a knee injury at Wimbledon last spring, she immediately began strength training and a workout regimen for her goal of making a come back this year. Meanwhile, she serves as an ESPN commentator.

As the keynote speaker at the 18th annual Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame Gala, held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, she recognized three Hall of Fame inductees, league champs and youth scholarship winners.

Mattek-Sands, 32, described her own story of setbacks and recovery over an 18-year pro career. “You’ll learn a lot about yourself on the court, and a lot of what I learned I’ve taken to my personal life,” said the 7-time Grand Slam champion.

The gala, held Friday, February 2, 2018, benefits the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation (CYTF), founded in 1961 by the USTA to develop the next generation of American tennis players. Mattek-Sands urged guest athletes to pursue physical and mental toughness, and to carry their sportsmanship, discipline, and self-motivation off the court.

USTA Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame inductees distinguished themselves through their dedication and contributions to the sport. Inductees are: Kellen Damico, Scott Davidoff, and Nancy Rudd Popof. Also recognized were Colorado high school state champions and USTA league teams that advanced to 2017 national championships.

Shelly St. John of the Auction Divas managed the live auction including a competitive bid for a customized racket used personally by Mattek-Sands for a match played at the French Open. Live music entertainment was provided by The Saddle Rockers.

Special thanks went to year-round support from: Subaru, Orthopedic Associates, Chipotle, MidFirst Bank, KIND, and Sprouts.

To learn more about the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame and download an application for the CYTF scholarships due March 1, 2018 visit: http://www.colorado.usta.com