Ogborne Keeps Mining Gold on the Court
By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer
Like the proverbial Old Man River, Julie Ogborne just keeps rolling merrily along.
The former city champion picked up her 15th gold ball, which is awarded to every age group winner in singles and doubles by the United States Tennis Association, last month at the women’s 45-over National Indoor championships in Homewood, Ill.
Ogborne, 48, teamed with Jean Marie Alpert of Texas to outlast a duo from Northern California 7-5, 7-5 in the final.
While it was Ogborne’s 15th time in the winner’s circle, the victory — and gold ball — was the first for Alpert.
“Jean Marie had just returned to competitive tennis after 20 years and her goal was to win a gold ball,” said Ogborne.
“I didn’t know any of this until after we won the tournament. We sat down after we shook hands and she told me this. She said, ‘This was on my bucket list. I just wanted to win one national title.’ That was pretty cool.”
Ogborne, a former standout for William and Mary, was randomly paired with Alpert by her friends at the indoor facility outside Chicago.
“The people there know that if I’m looking for a partner, so they’re on the lookout for me to find somebody good. They knew that Jean Marie was good because she had played there in the spring and did well,” Ogborne said.
Ogborne and Alpert clicked together from the beginning. Ogborne plays the ad side in doubles – “I’ve done it my entire life” – and, as it turned out, Alpert prefers to handle the deuce court. It was a perfect match as the results showed.
“It worked out really well,” said Ogborne. “It was fun.”
The duo had to rally from 1-4 down in both sets before receiving their golden trophies.
“It was kind of unbelievable that we came back and won 5 and 5,” Ogborne said. “I definitely thought we were going three sets.”
Ogborne usually plays with another Texan, Shelly Works, in the tournament, and in fact, teamed with her in the 35-over division, where they finished as the runners-up, dropping a three-setter to a pair from the Midwest.
The silver ball, which goes to the finalists, was the 22nd for Ogborne.
Ogborne grew up in the Chicago area, so playing in this tournament is a “no-brainer. My parents live about 13 miles from this tournament, so I go and stay with them and go visit my family, which lives all over the area.”
Ogborne plans to keep adding to her “gold chest” in the tournament, which also includes the 55-over division. So she can keep on rolling along and collecting titles even when she ages out of the 45-over group.
“I really enjoy playing in this tournament,” she said.
Ogborne and six-time city champion Rachel Gale will be heading to the National 35-over Grass Courts in Philadelphia in July. Ogborne and her husband, Kevin, also have begun to play in the National Husband-Wife tournament in September at Amelia Island, Fla.
The duo of Gale and Ogborne, along with Kirsten Elim and Leslie Butterworth, finished third in the country in the National Intersectionals last November in Boca Raton, Fla.
It appears more accolades – and gold balls – may be in the future for Ogborne as she just keeps rolling through the USTA divisions.