Lorraine Sharp

About This Inductee

Lorraine stumbled across the Freeland Tennis Club and discovered tennis by accident at age l9. She had never seen a tennis match before. A friend gave her a racquet and she was immediately bitten by the tennis bug and spent as much time as she could playing. She was self-taught with no formal instruction; however, the players at the Freeland Tennis Club showed her how to change the grip for the backhand. At 25, Lorraine entered a United States Tennis Association (USTA) sanctioned event at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre and lost to the #1 seed. She recalls being so nervous she could hardly breathe. Lorraine quickly overcame her nerves and two years later won the tournament – her first or three consecutive wins which would retire the Janet F. Post Trophy-named after Eve Kraft’s sister, Janet, who co-founded the Wyoming Valley Tennis Association with Wyoming Valley Tennis Hall of Elwood Sheldon. Lorraine began to play the USTA Middle States events (the regional USTA section that governs Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and part of West Virginia) and was consistently ranked among the top 10 players in the Middle States regional open division from 1969-76, when she changed her focus to the 40’s and then the 45’s. Sharp was consistently ranked first, second or third in the 40’s and held the number one 45’s ranking for five years. It was at this time that Judy Clay, an old Middle States rival came to visit from California and told Lorraine about the National 45’s. For five years Lorraine competed nationally and earned a U.S. National ranking of #6 for several of the five years. She began competing in the 50’s but suffered an ankle injury in Salt Lake which forced her retirement from competition. Lorraine recalls: “I had a great time playing the National and I am very proud of the silver balls that I received from the USTA for my second place finish in singles and doubles at the Nationals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.” Lorraine attended the Dennis Van der Meer Tennis University in Columbia, Maryland where she earned a Professional Tennis Instructor’s Certificate in 1976. She taught for several years after retiring from competition. Sharp recalls that one of her proudest accomplishments was helping a young man minted Marty Coyne – now a long-time successful collegiate coach at Bloomsburg University. Sharp recalls, “I didn’t teach him how to play, but I helped him to hone his skills.” Even as she approaches 80, Lorraine’s legacy continues as one of the most renowned players and coaches to ever grace the courts in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She continues to play recreational singles regularly, traveling during the winter to indoor clubs in the Wilkes-Barre area and, during the fairer months, on the private har-tru court she built at her home many years ago. Lorraine says with a smile in her voice, “I’ll play doubles when I get older!”