BELTON TENNIS
INFORMATION

SC TENNIS
HALL OF FAME

 
 

Sara Rushton Walters
Marietta, GA
Inducted December 7, 1991

BORN IN COLUMBIA WHERE SHE BEGAN PLAYING TENNIS AT THE AGE OF 14. SHE WAS THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENT BODY AT COLUMBIA HIGH SCHOOL WHERE SHE WAS ALSO A CHEERLEADER AND MEMBER OF THE GORL’S TENNIS TEAM. SHE WON THE STATE HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP IN SINGLES AND DOUBLES IN 1936 AFTER PLAYING ONLY ONE YEAR. SHE REPEATED AS SINGLES CHAMPION IN 1937.

THERE WERE NO JUNIOR TOURNAMENTS DURING HER HIGH SCHOOL YEARS, SO SHE ENTERED ADULT TOURNAMENTS. SHE WON THE STATE CLOSED MIXED DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1936 WHEN SHE WAS ONLY 15. THE FOLLOWING YEAR SHE WON THE WONEN’S SINGLES, WOMEN’S DOUBLES AND MIXED DOUBLES TITLES.

SHE ENTERED THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA IN 1939 AND PLAYED ON THE FRESHMAN BOY’S TEAM, WINNING 50% OF HER MATCHES. SHE BECAME THE FIRST FEMALE AT CAROLINA AND IN THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE TO PLAY VARSITY TENNIS IN 1940. HER WINS INCLUDED A 6-1, 6-2 VICTORY OVER HER CLEMSON OPPONENT, WHICH CLINCHED THE MATCH FOR THE GAMECOCKS. PATRICIPATION BY GIRLS IN VARSITY SPORTS WAS ELIMINATED AT CAROLINA IN 1941, ENDING HER COLLEGE TENNIS CAREER.

SHE CONTINUED PLAYING TOURNAMENTS IN THE CAROLINAS THROUGH 1942 WHEN THE WAR STARTED. HER TITLES INCLUDED FOUR ADDITIONAL STATE CLOSED SINGLES, SEVEN CONSECUTIVE MIXED DOUBLES, AND A WOMEN’S DOUBLES.

MOST TOURNAMENT PLAY WAS SUSPENDED WHEN THE WAR BEGAN. NO STATE CLOSED WAS HELD BETWEEN 1943-1945, BUT WHEN THE TOURNAMENT RETURNED IN 1946, SARA STARTED WHERE SHE LEFT OFF, WINNING BOTH WOMEN’S SINGLES AND MIXED DOUBLES.

SHE WAS MARRIED IN 1947 AND LEFT THE STATE FOR 13 YEARS. HER TOURNAMENT TENNIS WAS CURTAILED AS SHE STARTED HER FAMILY, BUT SHE DID WIN THE ARKANSAS OPEN SINGLES AND DOUBLES AND THE NORTH CAROLINA CLOSED FIVE TIMES. SHE WAS RANKED #6 IN THE SOUTH IN 1953. HER FAMILY RETURNED TO GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA IN 1960. SHE HELD CLINICS, GAVE INDIVIDUAL LESSONS, ORGANIZED LOCAL ROSTERS OF WONEN’S PLAYERS, AND EVEN KEPT THE COURTS AT GREEN VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB. SHE PLAYED HER LAST COMPETITIVE TOURNAMENT IN 1961 WHEN SHE WON THE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE CLOSED.

A REVIEW OF ONLY A FEW OF HER TENNIS TITLES SHOWS:
-25 SOUTH CAROLINA CLOSED SINGLES AND DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
-1 ARKANSAS OPEN SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
-5 SOUTH CAROLINA/NORTH CAROLINA CLOSED SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
-1 WINSTON-SALEM OPEN SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

SHE CREDITS HER SUCCESS TO DETERMINATION AND CONCENTRATION. SHE CONTINUED PLAYING RECREATIONAL TENNIS UNTIL 1986. SHE NOW HAS 5 GRANDCHILDREN AND LIVES IN MARIETTA, GEORGIA.

 
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