John Packett Articles

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... »

Deep Run, Midlothian Girls, Sorkin Cap Big Seasons

Deep Run, Midlothian Girls, Sorkin Cap Big Seasons

The Deep Run girls’ team finally emerged from the giant shadow of long-time rival Mills Godwin to win the 5A state championship. Midlothian’s girls’ team captured its third straight 4A title, cruising past district rival Hanover in the final. Rising senior Nina Sorkin of Deep Run continued her unbeaten streak against prep competition, claiming her third consecutive singles and doubles crowns. Thos... »

Whitaker Third in 14s After Latest Triumph

Whitaker Third in 14s After Latest Triumph

Spencer Whitaker is a determined young man. He knows what he wants to be – a professional tennis player – and he’s staying squarely focused on that goal as he continues to learn more about the game and what it takes to reach the highest level. Don’t bet against him. “I’m feeling more compelled to reach them [goals] because I feel like I can do it now,” Whitaker said. “I’ve spent countless hours on... »

RTA Completes Another Banner Year

RTA Completes Another Banner Year

Another 12 months has come and gone in the life of the Richmond Tennis Association. It was a year highlighted by a re-vitalized city tournament and the celebration of another Richmond Tennis Hall of Fame class. In between, junior and adult teams from the area made their presence felt on the national stage, and acac pulled out yet another Anthem Club Challenge victory, their fifth straight in the a... »

Serendipity lifted 4.0 team in Nationals

Serendipity lifted 4.0 team in Nationals

A few weeks before her local team was scheduled to head to Indian Wells, Calif., for the 40-over Adult Women’s 4.0 U.S. Tennis Association League National Championships, Laurie Malhieros was diagnosed with breast cancer. “She had played singles for the team throughout the league season, as well as regionals and sectionals,” said Kathy Napier, captain of the team. “She played a significant role in ... »

Five New Members Added to Hall Of Fame

Five New Members Added to Hall Of Fame

It was an evening filled with laughter and nostalgia, punctuated with plenty of good food and old friends. The occasion was the Richmond Tennis Association’s biennial Hall of Fame induction banquet on Oct. 24. Five new members were welcomed into the fold this year during the festivities and merriment at the Westwood Club, which has proven to be a gracious host to all but one of the ceremonies that... »

Sylvia Lived up to Woods’ Great Expectations

Sylvia Lived up to Woods’ Great Expectations

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sam Woods could recognize a tennis prodigy when he saw one. After all, Woods taught a generation of Richmonders how to play the game at Byrd Park and sent many of them on to college glory. So when he saw Bruce Sylvia playing as a 13-year-old, Woods knew he was looking at a future star. “He has fine tennis temperament and is a top-notch tournament player,” Woods... »

Miller Set High Standards on Court, as Official

Miller Set High Standards on Court, as Official

Clifton M. “Cliff” Miller Jr. was the original “Mr. Tennis” of Richmond. Miller was just beginning to exhibit his prowess on the courts of the Country Club of Virginia around the time of the first city tournament in 1925 and went on to capture the singles championship six times during his illustrious career. At one point, Miller won five straight titles and reached the final twice when he was in h... »

Kostin Turned VCU from Doormat to Dominant

Kostin Turned VCU from Doormat to Dominant

When Paul Kostin was hired to be the men’s tennis coach at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1990, the program was in a shambles. The Rams had a part-time coach and had managed just three wins the previous season. Dr. Richard Sander, the Rams’ athletic director at the time, was looking for someone to resurrect the program and at least make them competitive in the Sun Belt Conference, where VCU r... »

Three Chopt Earns First Autumn Cup Title

Three Chopt Earns First Autumn Cup Title

For each of the last three years, Three Chopt Recreation Club has finished runner-up in the Autumn Cup tournament, a weekend of competition and camaraderie between area clubs and rec associations held at Avalon Recreation Association. This time the outcome was different. Three Chopt took the lead with a huge second day and held on to claim its first Autumn Cup. “This is an awesome feeling,” said a... »

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