Ronald Holmberg

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Ron Holmberg
Ron holmberg west point hof.jpg
Full name Ronald Edward Holmberg
Country  United States
Residence Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY
New Orleans, LA
Born (1938-01-27) January 27, 1938 (age 76)
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Turned pro 1968 (amateur tour from 1954)
Retired 1972
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Singles
Career record 58–62
Highest ranking No. 7 (1960, Lance Tingay)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 1R (1958)
French Open QF (1961)
Wimbledon 3R (1964, 1966)
US Open SF (1959)
Doubles
Career record 21–24
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 1R (1958)
Last updated on: May 13, 2013.

Ronald E. Holmberg (born January 27, 1938 in Brooklyn, New York) was a tennis player who competed during the 1950s, '60s and '70s. He was ranked World No. 7 in 1960 and was ranked in the U.S. Top 10 for an impressive nine years. He is currently one of the USPTA's select "Master Professionals" and devotes most of his time coaching, participating and directing charity events and clinics and other tennis related projects. [1] [2]

Summary[edit]

  • Won his first tournament at age 12 and won three out of the four possible U.S. National Boys' titles in 1953.
  • Was a U.S. National Championships (the US Open) Men's Singles Semi-Finalist in 1959,[5] a Quarter-Finalist in 1961[6] and a French (the French Open) Quarter-Finalist in 1961.[7]
  • Was ranked No. 7 in the World in 1960 and ranked in the “TOP TEN” of U.S. Men’s singles for a remarkable nine years.[8][9]
  • Was selected to be a playing member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team four times.
  • Played in several Blue Gray events when it was an individual competition. Won the singles championship in 1959. Captured back-to-back Blue Gray doubles titles in 1957 and 1958.[10][11]
  • After retiring from professional competition in 1971, became Head Coach of Tennis and Squash at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point.
  • Continues to be involved in teaching tennis to this day and is widely recognized as one of the game's outstanding coaches. Member of Tennis Magazine’s prestigious “Instruction Advisory Board” for its duration of 19 years.
  • Among others, was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall-of-Fame,[4] the USTA Eastern Tennis Hall-of-Fame, Louisiana Tennis Hall-of-Fame[12] and the USTA Southern Tennis Hall-of-Fame[13] his eighth Hall of Fame
  • Received the USPTA “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 1997.
  • Received the USTA George Seewagen Award in 1999.

Biography[edit]

The following biography is based on the USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame and USTA Southern Tennis Hall of Fame inductions.[12][13] The original text was submitted to the USTA by tennis historian Steve Flink and presented by him during the induction ceremony. [14]

In the late 1950s and ‘60s World Tennis magazine frequently paid tribute to Ron Holmberg’s tennis ability: “Holmberg can do more with a tennis ball than any other player of his era. There is no shot that is beyond his aptitude ... His touch, power and stroke making are beautiful to watch.”

Indeed, the U.S. Tennis Association Official Encyclopedia of Tennis sites Holmberg as one of “the leading tennis players of his day.” He ranked among the top 10 in U.S. Men’s Singles nine times during the '50s and '60s,[8][9] he was a semifinalist at the U.S. National Championships (the US Open),[5] a quarter-finalist at the French (the French Open),[7] won the singles crown once and doubles crowns twice at the Canadian Open in Toronto[15][16] and he won the U.S. National Indoor Doubles Championship among other titles.

His record was impressive, but more importantly, Holmberg was a spectator’s delight. Steve Flink, a past editor of World Tennis said, “Ron was his own kind of player, a consummate stylist, which made him stand out. He reminded me of Ken Rosewall in that he was so effortless. He could hit winners from everywhere.” In fact, Flink remembers watching him play Rosewall in the Wimbledon warm-up at the Queen’s Club, London, in the late ‘60s. Holmberg was down a set and 2-0, but after a rain delay, he found his timing and completely took over the match. “He was brilliant!” said Flink.

Holmberg learned the game in his native Brooklyn at Fort Greene Park and progressed through the N.Y.C. Parks system. Tennis was merely another game to complement baseball and basketball, but his potential carried him beyond his roots into the national arena when he was 14. He met teaching pro John Nogrady, who was a tremendous help, especially with match-play strategy. During these formative years Ron feels very lucky to have also worked closely with some of the all time greats: Pancho Segura, Pancho Gonzalez, Bobby Riggs, Jack Kramer and Emmett Pare’, all top playing professionals who took Ron under their wing and remained good friends throughout his career to the present. In 1953, at age 15, Ron won three out of the four U.S. National Boys’ titles and in 1954, played in his first U.S. National Men’s Championships at Forest Hills (US Open).[17]

Attaining a top junior ranking in the United States, Ron was highly recruited and wound up taking his powerful serve and volley game to New Orleans, Louisiana and Coach Emmett Pare’ at Tulane University. Winner of Junior Wimbledon Singles in 1956, Ron was named All-American three successive years[4] and twice won the NCAA Doubles Championship,[3] prior to graduation from Tulane University. While at Tulane, he was the SEC Singles Champion in 1958 and 1959 and the SEC Doubles Champion in ’57, ’58 and ’59 with Crawford Henry and Lester Sack.[3] In 1956 Ron began a string of appearances at the Men’s Sugar Bowl Tennis Classic in New Orleans that lasted nearly two decades. During that time he won a remarkable twelve singles and doubles titles.

A former playing member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team, Ron was ranked #7 in the world in 1960 and in the “Top Ten” in U.S. Men’s Singles for nine years.[8][9] Ron also won numerous international doubles titles with many prominent partners such as Barry MacKay (in Davis Cup), Pancho Gonzalez, John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Bob Mark, and Arthur Ashe (Holmberg and Ashe were ranked # 3 in the U.S.). Ron spent nineteen years on the “International Circuit” and in 1971 retired from professional competition to become Head Coach of Tennis and Squash at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point and served as President of the Eastern Collegiate Tennis Coaches Association.

Today Ron Holmberg has an international reputation as one on the game’s outstanding coaches. The Ron Holmberg Tennis Camps, owned and operated by Ron, were among the premiere tennis camps in the United States from 1971 to 1989.

“Teaching is terrific, as is coaching”, says Holmberg. “It’s fun to work with a group when everybody enjoys being there ... I do not choose to teach people strictly on ability, but on their desire to learn. For this reason all my lessons are enjoyable.”

Ron’s teaching reflects his approach to life. “Ron is a direct person and uncompromising in his principles”, says one former student, “but he’s also carefree.” Ron’s personality comes across on the tennis court. He talks about the game in very precise terms, yet he believes players should spend time just fooling around on the court (other than practice). He feels that players who do that love the game and learn to be creative. The Holmberg philosophy: “Hit the ball as hard as you can and as close to the lines as you can, but don’t miss!”

Ron is a member of the ATP, USPTA and USTA. Year-round he directs Junior Development programs and pro/celebrity tournaments ... conducts corporate outings ... teaches and coaches regional, national and international tournament players ... and conducts clinics and workshops for professional coaches and teachers. Ron also participates in, helps and directs numerous charity events. Ron, a member of the prestigious “Instruction Advisory Board of Tennis Magazine” for its nineteen-year duration, was also director of the Bob Griese / Jerry Lewis Pro-Celebrity Tennis Tournament for Muscular Dystrophy.

Ron, a member of the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame,[12] the Tulane Hall of Fame,[3] the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame and the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame,[4] was elected in 2011 into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame,[13] his eighth Hall of Fame. He is one of the USPTA's select "Master Professionals".

In 1997 Ron was recipient of the USPTA “Lifetime Achievement Award” which signifies all-around accomplishment in both playing and teaching.

In 1999 Ron received the USTA “George Seewagen Award” which signifies excellence in playing and service to the game.

In 2010 Ron became Chairman of The Louisiana Tennis Patrons Foundation.

In 2010 Ron participated in his 61st consecutive year at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships ... having played in the event from 1953 to 1972 ... a remarkable twenty years.

Ron Holmberg has resided in New Orleans since his playing days at Tulane, with stints in both Houston and Dallas, Texas. He also maintains a home – “Match Point Acres” in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, with his beautiful wife, Sylvia.

Ron Holmberg is multi-faceted. He worked as an ESPN broadcaster over a three-year period beginning in 1981. His life is one of a jet-setter ... always on the go, socializing with many successful people in the entertainment and sports industries, who have become good friends. His daughter, Holly, “the light of my life”, attended Emory University in Atlanta, GA. After her graduation Ron traveled even more extensively. Incredibly, he played in regular pickup basketball games all around the country at every opportunity. “Basketball is my first love”, he says, “probably because I was better at tennis ... My good friend, John Andariese, (the voice of the New York Knicks) knows basketball the way I know tennis, but we both love the other sport ... life is funny that way.”

Career Highlights[edit]

  • U.S. National Championships (the US Open) Men's Singles Semi-Finalist (1959)[5]
  • U.S. National Championships (the US Open) Men's Singles Quarter-Finalist (1961)[6]
  • French Championships (the French Open) Men's Singles Quarter-Finalist (1961)[7]
  • Played in several Blue Gray events when it was an individual competition. In 1959, won the singles championship. In 1957 and 1958, captured back-to-back Blue Gray doubles titles.[10][11]
  • Selected as a playing member to the U.S. Davis Cup Team four times[19]
  • Ranked in the U.S. "Top Ten" nine times ( 1957 : No 6, 1959 : No 4, 1960 : No 7, 1961 : No 7, 1964 : No 6, 1965 : No 9, 1966 : No 6, 1967 : No 6, 1968 : No 6 )[8][9]

Awards and Honors[edit]

  • Inducted into the USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame in 1990[12]
  • Inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993[3][4]
  • Recipient of the USPTA “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 1997 for his all-around accomplishment in both playing and teaching
  • Received the USTA George Seewagen Award in 1999 for excellence in playing and service to the game
  • Inducted into the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006[22]
  • Chairman of the Louisiana Tennis Patrons Foundation
  • Inducted into the 2007 Blue Gray National Tennis Classic Hall of Fame[11]
  • Inducted into the USTA Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011[13][25]

Books and Magazines[edit]

  • As a member of the prestigious “Instruction Advisory Board" of Tennis Magazine for nineteen years he was featured in the "Classic Instruction Series from Tennis Magazine" which included the following three books: "Tennis Strokes & Strategies", "Tennis: How to Play, How to Win", and "Teach Yourself Tennis!"

Articles[edit]

  • Life Magazine "A Tennis Future in Kids"[26]
  • New York Magazine "How to Play Tennis with Rod Laver and Other Hot-Shots"[27]
  • Sports Illustrated "Scorecard"[28]
  • Sports Illustrated "An Absence Of Homebreds"[29]
  • Sports Illustrated "...these Faces In The Crowd..."[18]
  • Sports Illustrated "Great Scott! Gene Won Another One"[30]
  • Sports Illustrated "Tennis without Trabert"[31]
  • nola.com "Ron Holmberg selected to Southern Tennis Association Hall of Fame"[25]
  • City Park Tennis Club of New Orleans "2011 Interview with Ron Holmberg"[32]

References[edit]

  • References for Biography:
  • USTA Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011[13]
  • References for Summary:
  1. ^ "USPTA Master Professional". Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ "USPTA World Conference on Tennis". Retrieved April 24, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Tulane Men's Tennis All-Time Honor Roll". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame (1993)". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "1959 U.S. National Championships – Men's Singles". 
  6. ^ a b "1961 U.S. National Championships – Men's Singles". 
  7. ^ a b c "1961 French Championships - Men's Singles". 
  8. ^ a b c d "USTA Yearbook - Top 10 U.S. Men's Rankings (1940-1959)". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d "USTA Yearbook - Top 10 U.S. Men's Rankings (1960-1979)". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Blue Gray National Tennis Classic / Champions". Retrieved May 13, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c "2010 Blue Gray Hall of Fame Inductees". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c d e "USTA Southern Tennis Hall of Fame". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Steve Flink, Master of Ceremonies". Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Rogers_Cup_(tennis)#Men.27s_singles". 
  16. ^ a b c "Rogers_Cup_(tennis)#Doubles". 
  17. ^ "1954 U.S. National Championships – Men's Singles". 
  18. ^ a b "...these Faces In The Crowd...". Sports Illustrated. July 16, 1956. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  19. ^ "USTA Yearbook - Davis Cup". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b c "Rogers Cup (tennis)". 
  21. ^ "Farmers Classic / Past Champions". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  22. ^ "LA Tennis Patrons Foundation". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  23. ^ "uspta.com Ron Holmberg Master Professional". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  24. ^ "2011 USPTA World Conference on Tennis". Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  25. ^ a b "Ron Holmberg selected to Southern Tennis Association Hall of Fame". nola.com. January 21, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  26. ^ "A Tennis Future in Kids". Life Magazine. September 6, 1954. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  27. ^ "How to Play Tennis with Rod Laver and Other Hot-Shots". New York Magazine. September 26, 1976. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Scorecard". Sports Illustrated. October 13, 1986. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  29. ^ "An Absence Of Homebreds". Sports Illustrated. September 21, 1959. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Great Scott! Gene Won Another One". Sports Illustrated. October 2, 1967. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Tennis without Trabert". Sports Illustrated. October 17, 1955. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  32. ^ "City Park Tennis Club of New Orleans "Interview with Ron Holmberg"". City Park Tennis Club of New Orleans. July 24, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 

See also[edit]