Saturday, June 12, 2004

Inductees didn't just take from the game

Hall of Famers built sport's future

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Giving back is a common theme among the third class of Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame inductees, announced Friday.

Though Bill Lofgren and Marty Wolf were elected in the Recent Player Category, recognizing their runs as the city's finest players during the 1970s and '80s, each also made his mark as an instructor.

J. Howard "Bumpy" Frazer was honored in the Contributor Category for his 35 years of service to the United States Tennis Association.

The fourth inductee is the late Clara Louise Zinke, honored in the Master Player Category (those who played more than 50 years ago).

Wolf was renowned as the "King of the Met," setting what was then a record with five titles in the Metropolitan Tournament (1979-82, '85). It might have been more, "but stupid Bill Lofgren had to move to town," Wolf said, laughing. Lofgren beat Wolf in the '83 and '84 finals.

Wolf, who was also a seven-time Met runner-up, won that tournament's doubles title 10 times - eight with younger brother Jeff. Jeff Wolf eventually broke Marty's singles record by winning a sixth time.

In 1993, Marty won the 35-and-over national championship and was ranked second in the world in that age group. But a serious knee injury caused him to scale back.

Wolf coached the University of Cincinnati men's and women's teams for eight years and was the teaching pro for 10 years at Losantiville Country Club.

Lofgren, who grew up in Peoria, Ill., moved to Cincinnati in 1979. He played on the pro circuit in the '70s and '80s, playing in all four Grand Slams. In 1977, he scored a doubles victory over Guillermo Vilas, who then was ranked No. 1 in the world in singles.

Lofgren had a long career as a teaching pro here - and briefly in Florida - and counted Vince Spadea, Brian Shelton, Andrea Farley and Caroline Kuhlman among his pupils.

"I always considered myself a teaching pro and not a playing pro," Lofgren said.

Lofgren has been general manager of Queen City Racquet & Fitness Club since 1985.

Zinke won more total titles, 12 (five singles, six doubles, one mixed doubles), than any other woman in the history of Cincinnati's international tennis tournaments. Playing in the 1920s and '30s, she was ranked No. 1 in what's now known as the USTA/Midwest Section.

The inductees will be enshrined July 31 during the Seniors event of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.



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