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Florida Player of the Year Dailey Looks to 2014

December 27, 2013 09:32 PM

By Cary Bayer, USTA Florida Region 8 (North Gold Coast) Columnist

Dailey,_MaryIf Mary Dailey blogged every day about her tennis exploits, she might call her writings The Dailey News. And her most recent headline could easily be "Mary Dailey Named Female Player of the Year."

That's because the Delray Beach doubles champ and tennis teacher, who coaches women's and men's teams in Boca Raton at the Swim & Racquet Center, and the Yacht and Racquet Club, was recently given that honor by the USTA Florida. Why? Let me count the ways.

Only one other woman in her 50s is ranked higher in doubles -- in the world. She's ranked in the Top 3 in American in women's doubles in each of the following categories: the 35s, 40s, 45s, and 50s -- even though she's 51. She's won 37 Gold Balls for USTA national titles on grass, clay, hard courts, and indoors. She won the Gold Slam in 2011, victorious on those four surfaces in the 35s -- when she was 49. In 2013, she won the USTA national women's doubles titles in the 35s on grass, and the 40s, 45s, and 50s indoors. She also represented her country six times in the International Tennis Federation World Championships -- captaining said team once -- and helped the U.S. win the Margaret Court Cup 45s in 2009.

Mary didn't pick up tennis until she became a teenager; as a pre-teen, she swam, dove, and rode horseback at high competitive levels in her native Pennsylvania. At 18, she won the Middle States Tennis Association Girls' Sportsmanship Award. Sportsmanship is something she's inculcated in all the student athletes she coached at Arizona State, South Carolina, Texas Tech, and Florida Atlantic University, among other schools.

"I feel like I've always had to work harder than everyone else," she says, confessing a secret to her success. And now that she's hit the big 5-0, her orthopedist is on speed dial, and she thanked her surgeon and physical therapist when honored by the USTA Florida in December. As her body has brought her new challenges, her mind has discovered different ways to win.

While Mary won't reveal her goals for 2014, let's just say that the world's No. 2-ranked player would like to climb a notch in the rankings.








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