Hall of Famer Chris Evert Inaugurates Wynee Warden Tennis Center
Dedication of the Wynee Warden Tennis Center on the campus of Florida Southern College ; (L-R): FSC Women's Tennis Coach Trish Riddell; FSC President Anne Kerr; Chris Evert; Andy Warden; Chandler Warden; FSC Trustee Dr. Sarah McKay; Architect Mike Furr; Jason Rodda, John Rodda and Jodie Rodda (Rodda Construction); FSC Director of Athletics Pete Meyer. | For more photos, visit FSC.Mocs photostream »
LAKELAND (Sept. 14, 2012) – Hall of Fame tennis champion Chris Evert inaugurated the Wynee Warden Tennis Center at FSC with some admiring remarks, then gamely kicked off her shoes and hit the first shot on the new courts.
Evert was the special guest at the grand opening ceremony of the Center, which drew a crowd of about 200 people, including Mrs. Warden, whose family charity, the Bert W. Martin Foundation, was the major donor for the facility. Evert praised the Center as a “beautiful facility” and said the game of tennis can be a lifelong pursuit and a family activity.
“It’s something you can play when you’re 6 or 80. I played just the other day with my mom. She’s the one who taught me the drop shot. I have four siblings, and three of them played No. 1 on their college teams. We played as a family,” she said.
The 10-court Warden Tennis Center was built over the summer and includes a covered, two-sided grandstand, restrooms, and a concession stand. It will be the home of the FSC men’s and women’s varsity tennis teams as well as the site for recreational play for faculty, staff, and students, and community tournaments.
FSC President Anne Kerr said it was appropriate that the Center was named for Mrs. Warden because “the game of tennis begins with love.”
“Wynee is a wise woman of incredible character. She is a great friend in good times and bad. She has a zest for life, and she genuinely cares for students,” she said.
Evert was caught off guard by a request to hit the first shot, but picked up a racket, declared, “OK, I’m ready,” and walked barefoot onto the Andy Warden Championship Court and engaged in a 10-shot exchange with FSC tennis coach Trish Riddell.
After a luncheon, Evert met with about 50 FSC students, including numerous varsity athletes, fielding questions about her career, handling pressure in competitive situations, and how to develop a winning attitude.
“We should admire the way athletes work hard and set goals. That could be applied to business or life. There’s strength and determination inside you. You’ve got to trust it,” she said.