John Packett Articles

Turpin, Brown Show Off Their Junior Potential

Turpin, Brown Show Off Their Junior Potential

There was a period of time when Battery Park and the North Side of Richmond produced a steady stream of African-American tennis players. Junie Chatman, Rodney and Marell Harmon, Rozzell Lightfoot and Leonard Booker to name a few. There were hardly any female players emerging from that part of town, although Koren Fleming made the city women’s final one year. While those days are long gone, the Ric... »

Freshmen Sorkin, Bernstine helping Hokies

Freshmen Sorkin, Bernstine helping Hokies

Some of the area’s best high school players have gone on to the next level and are competing well for their college teams this spring. The most well-known are All-Metro players of the year from 2017: Nina Sorkin (Deep Run) and Chase Bernstine (Goochland), both of whom are at Virginia Tech and have been contributing as freshmen. Sorkin helped the Hokies (10-4) win their first eight matches before t... »

Kinder ‘quietly’ leads junior team to national title

Kinder ‘quietly’ leads junior team to national title

 Jason Kinder found himself working with some of the best juniors in the country when the U.S. Tennis Association hired him to be one of the coaches for the USTA National Spring Team Championships in Mobile, Ala. The director of tennis at acac Fitness and Wellness-Richmond, Kinder was placed in charge of the Titans, a talented bunch who went unbeaten at 4-0 and took the gold medal with a 6-1 victo... »

Huff, Bernstine Receive 2017 Most Improved Awards

Huff, Bernstine Receive 2017 Most Improved Awards

Six of the top players in the Richmond area were honored for their achievements on and off the court in 2017 during a banquet at the Willow Oaks Country Club on Feb. 28. While all of the awards are significant in their own right, the most improved player honors are usually given to a pair of the top juniors in the metro area. Helena Huff and Ryan Bernstine are this year’s recipients of the awards.... »

Harrison made Thalhimer Cup his own

Harrison made Thalhimer Cup his own

Back in the day, the Thalhimer Invitational was regarded as one of the top tennis tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic region. Many of the best players in Richmond, as well as those from around the state and the Maryland-D.C. area, descended on Byrd Park for a week of intense competition that delighted the large galleries who showed up to watch. The winner had his name etched on a gleaming silver bowl,... »

Harmon Thrived from Ties with RTA

Harmon Thrived from Ties with RTA

The Richmond Tennis Hall of Fame held its biennial induction ceremonies on Oct. 28 at the Westwood Club, and one of its own served as the keynote speaker for the festive evening that saw seven new members added to the illustrious list. Rodney Harmon, who was inducted in 2009, passed over his prepared remarks and gave a wonderful off-the-cuff talk about how his life was changed by all those who had... »

Harrison: the ‘pied piper’ of Richmond Tennis

Harrison: the ‘pied piper’ of Richmond Tennis

Whenever Sarah Townsend Harrison took the court, she invariably wore a gold necklace or a set of pearls plus a sweater. It didn’t matter how warm it was, she always had that sweater on as something of an intimidating factor against her opponents. Not that she needed much help from outside forces. From the time she was in her early teens, Harrison used a powerful forehand to bash her way to the fin... »

Three Chopt Rallies for 3rd Autumn Cup!

Three Chopt Rallies for 3rd Autumn Cup!

After the first day of the Autumn Cup, Three Chopt Recreation Association was in sixth place out of eight teams. That was certainly no way for the two-time defending champions to open play in the annual competition at Avalon Recreation Association. “We never know what to expect on the first day,” said Rob Johnston, captain of the Three Chopt team and director of tennis at the Henrico County club. ... »

Hermitage Ends acac’s Anthem Cup Reign

Hermitage Ends acac’s Anthem Cup Reign

With the specter of six-time champion acac looming over the Anthem Cup Club Challenge heading into the weekend of Sept. 22-24, Hermitage Country Club captain Mark Bernstine figured his team would be among the runners-up again.          “I never imagined we would actually win,” said Bernstine. “We’ve always had a great time just coming and competing. Last year, I was surprised we came in second so ... »

Charity taught Ashe, others by example

Charity taught Ashe, others by example

One afternoon in 1950, when he was around seven years old, Arthur Ashe Jr., was watching someone practice tennis on one of the four courts right outside the side door of his home near Brook Field Park on the city’s North Side. Ashe had been very impressed with the way the man had hit balls against the wall or served into an empty court for hours on end. Eventually, the man invited Ashe to join him... »

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