Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 13, 1976 · Page 47
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June 13, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 47

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, June 13, 1976
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5D --June 13, 1976 Sundav Gasette-Mail Charleston West Virginia Peachy Has Key Role in Women's Tennis Boom By A. L. Hardman Hilly Jean King, the tennis champion, was once chatting with Peachy Kellmeyer. the tennis coach at Marymount College in Boca Raton. Fla. "You know. Peachy, we'll be playing before crowds of 10.000 or more, in indoor arenas al! over the country in a few years." said Billy Jean. "Women's tennis is really catching on " Peachy. Charleston's greatest gift to the game of tennis, scoffed at this. Billy Jean King was just making conversation, she thought. But now. five years later, the professionals of women's tennis-the Women's Tennis Assn.-are not only playing before crowds of 10.000 or more'but are making more money than anyone ever dreamed. "So here we are, just like Billy Jean predicted," said Peachy Saturday during a visit with her brother, Fred Kellmeyer, Jr., and her sister, Kay Kellmeyer, who lives on a farm out near the Kanawha State Forest. "And I'm part of it." Peachy was a good tennis player herself when she was a little younger than her present 32 years, and tennis has always been good to her. But it remained for her business training more so than her tennis know-how to get the position she now holds-executive director of the famous Virginia Slims professional tennis tournament tour--a S3 million per year project sponsored by the Philip Morris Tobacco Co. THIS IS HER FIFTH year with the tour. She started out as the tournament director--a job that paid her then somewhere in the neighborhood of $20.000 per year, plus expenses. And she did such a fantastic job that she was promoted to the position as executive director two years ago. Her business at the moment is lining up the 1977 tour, which will begin in January and run through April. She stopped off for her weekend visit here on her way to New York City, where she will negotiate for the woman's first professional tennis tournament in the new Madison Square Garden. ''This will highlight our tour next year." said Peachy, who won so many West Virginia amateur championships in her heyday that she has fotgotten the count. "We're raising our prize money from Peachy Kellmeyer Virginia Slims Director $75.000 to $100.000 per tournament." she said. "And then we will have a grand prize of $150.000 going to the champion of the en- B E C K E N H A M . England ( A P Roscoe Tanner of Lookout M o u n t a i n , Tenn.. boosted his Wimbledon chances sky-high Saturday when he beat hot favorite Jimmy Connors of Belleville. III.. 6-3, 6-4 in a swift 55 minutes to take the men's singles t i t l e in the Beckenham Grass Courts Tournament. It was a victory well deserved. At no stage did Connors play like a winner. Connors made too many mistakes for his own good in this big-hitting battle of left- handers. Only once in the opening set did he have the edge on Tanner. That came after Connors had broken for a 3-2 lead and given a glimmer of hope that he could get away from his hardpressing rival. But Tanner came back magnificently in the very next game and broke Connors' service. From then on. it was always a question of survival for Connors, who will still go into Wimbledon in one week's time as the favorite--but with his confidence slightly dented. Connors did not always retain full control of his shots. It was his inaccurancies on the vital points which eventually let him down. In contrast. Tanner served with tremendous enthusiasm and volleyed with precision accuracy. Once he got the break for a 3-2 lead in the second set. there was no disputing the winner. Earlier, Russian champion Olga Mora- zova won the women's finals title, beating young South African Marise Kruger 7- 5. 2-6. 6-3. Ramirez Defeated PARIS (AP! - Harold Solomon of Silv e r S p r i n g . M d . . p l a y e d t h r o u g h 126-degree heat, 22 bottles of water and a weieht loss that drained him to 129 pounds. but came from behind Saturday to reach the final of the French Open tennis championships. Solomon, the first U.S. player to reach the final here in 19 years, was down two sets to one. and four games to three in the fourth set but turned a boastful gesture by Raul Ramirez of Mexico into something like an Aztec curse, coming back to win 6-7. 6-0. 4-6. 6-4. 6-4. After hitting a flashing backhand volley to begin the seventh game. Ramirez put his forefinger and thumb together as a sign of victory for the crowd. But the point was his last of the set. Solomon ran off 12 straight and began the rush that brought the match under control. Solomon's opponent for the S27.600 first place money Sunday will be Adriano Pan- atta. the Italian Open champion, who won 6-3, 6-2. 6-4 over Eddie Dibbs of Miami. Solomon's doubles partner and friend since the age of 12. The last American who made it to the final here, called the toughest tournament in the world by Arthur Ashe, was llerbic Flam, who lost to Sven Davidson of Sweden in 1957. Flam was a small, wiry player whose game, like Solomon's run-and-retrieve style, did not suffer from the slow- red clay. Two years earlier, in 1955. Tony Trabert. the present U.S. Davis Cup captain, had won the tournament, the last American victorv here. sday el HYANNIS, Mass. ( A P ) - The struggling American Basketball Association, making its strongest pitch to become part of the National Basketball Association, will find out this week whether the NBA is ready to catch it. In the past, the NBA has refused to grab the ABA's bait: but this time indications are the older league might be more receptive to the ABA's proposals. The big decision will be made at the NBA's five-day annual summer meetings, beginning Sunday at this Cape Cod resort area. Under the latest announced plans, four of the six ABA franchises--Denver. Indi- ana, New York and San A n t o n i o -- h a v e said that if given the opportunity by the NBA. they each would be willing to pay the asking price of S4.5 million to join the older league. In order for a franchise to gain admittance to the N'BA. a vote of 14 of the 18-member Board of Governors is required. The ABA's offer is scheduled to be officially taken up by the Board on Tuesday, although the Governors and Commissioner Larry O'Brien have been hammering away at the situation for a long time. We have expanded our facilities to better serve you. Please accept our appreciation and sincere thanks. Sometimes in the rush of business life we fail to say THANKS loud enough. But you can be sure your patronage is never taken for granted. Our aim is to please and satisfy you. TO SERVE YOU IS A REAL PRIVILEGE THANK YOU! DIRECTBONS TO OUR NEW LOCATION M/ - W.VA. KITCHEN t t t GENERATOR. S STARTER ST.AL6AN5 RT.fcOtOEST NACCOftK-LE AVEMUE CHARLESTON 6420 MACCORKLE AVENUE S.W. ST. AlBANS, W. VA, PHONE 768-7351 tire tour." There w i l l be 32 t o u r n a m e n t s played next year extending from Florida to California. All told, there will be SI .25 million paid out in prize money. PEACHY. WHO DOESN'T really care for her first name of Fern, says she loves what she is doing but still has no plan at all to make this project her life's work. Alt h o u g h t h e P h i l l i p M o r r i s people h a v e been especially kind to her and she loves the players who perform in her tournaments. "The travel is something 1 tire of," she said, "and I know just a few more years of it will be enough for me. Of course, when I took this job five years ago I felt that a couple of years would be all I wanted. Now here it is five years later, and I'm still on the job." Her v i s i t to C h a r l e s t o n - h e r f i r s t in about three years-was most refreshing. " K n o w w h a t 1 did yesterday'.'" she asked. "You played tennis." "No. 1 hoed corn on my sister's farm and. like they say about West Virginia, it was almost heaven. It was so quiet and peaceful out there." She got in some tennis, too, of course. playing Saturday with her brother Fred. "He always beats me," Peachy says, "but it used to be t h a t he'd let me win a set or two just before one of my tournaments. That would build up my confidence, you know." FRED, LIKE HIS FATHEU. Fred, Sr . is quite successful in the insurance business here and Peachy knows that's a pood lite-- so good, in f a c t , she might go into t he- business herself when she finishes with the Virginia Slims. "If 1 don't do t h a t . I might become a teaching professional or coach, like I did at Marymount." she said. "1 could even teach school, now that I have my master's degree.' She graduated from the U. of Miami in Florida in 1966 before moving to Marym o u n t as a coach. She now makes her home with her mother in Fort Lauderdale. Fla.. and quite often sees a former Charleston (Edgewood and Charleston Tennis OPEKDAIIY 10-10; SUNDAY 1-7 C h i b i - p r o - J a n K o / u l u h . t h e f o r m e r Davis cup player from Cwchoslavakia. "Jan did so mueh for me when he was in Charleston," Peachy recalled. "1 was only about 10 years old and he gave me a good basis for my game." Later Peachy lived with the Kuzeluhs during her visits to Florida and played in the Orange Kowl at Miami one year after Ko/eluh got her an invitation to play there. BILL Ll'FLER who is now coaching at the I', of South Florida, also gets credit for helping Peachy along with her game when she was competitive in tennis and Lufler was the pro at the Charleston Tennis Club. He later became the pro at Forest Hills. "He taught me how to volley," Peachy said "1 was 18 t h e n and should h a v e learned that a few years before. Hut Bill SHOP, had me p l a y i n g at t h e top ol my game." Yvonne Goolagong, the 24-yenr-old Aus- tralian, took down top money In the Virginia Slims tour last year, earning $133,675. Chris Evert, whose victory in the Sweet 16 in Charleston a few years back got her started to tennis stardom, came in second on the tour with $108,725. A total of 337.920 fans attended 11 regular season tournaments on the Virginia Slims tour last year, averaging 30,720 per tournament, which was 3ti per cent more than the 1975 tour. Peachy will go to Wimbledon next week to negotiate w i t h the Women's Tennis Assoc. for a 1S77 contract and also to sign a number of the top women players in the tournament there. "1 played at Wimbledon once," Peachy chuckled, "and 1 had to stay in a rooming house. But on my last few trips there, 1 havj had suites in good hotels." T h a t ' s how t h i n g s h a v e changed for Fern "Peachy" Kellmeyer. But Peachy remains the same Peachy Charleston people admired so greatly in her teens. 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