Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney, a 92-year-old tennis legend who was honored in the recent La Jolla Christmas Parade, isn’t about to call it quits.
The daughter of a Wimbledon champion said she doesn’t let arthritis in her knees and back keep her from doing what she’s always loved to do. She’s still competing, and last year she won a grand slam doubles in her age division.
“I can still move, and I can still anticipate,” said Cheney. “If the ball gets anywhere near me I can place it pretty well.”
The La Jolla Town Council honored her as one of the local legends in the December parade, where she shared the fun of riding on a float with four generations of her family, including three great-grandchildren.
“We had a great time,” Cheney said.
Champion in ’38Cheney, who started playing tennis at age 8 or 9, said tennis genes run in the family. Her son also competes actively.
In her day, girls may not have been encouraged in sports like today, but Cheney said she never had anything but family support. She considers her greatest athletic achievement to be winning the Australia Championship in 1938.
“I might have been the only American playing in it, and I was lucky I beat them all,” she said.
In 2004, she was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in Rhode Island. Nearly her entire family made the trip with her. She also holds the distinction of having won approximately 380 gold balls - the most of any female tennis player. Gold balls are awarded for winning national tournaments.
Still loving the gameAs for changes she has seen in tennis through the years, she said upgrades in racquets have changed the game because it enables players to hit the ball faster and farther. Television has also brought tennis to a much wider audience, even making celebrities out of tennis players, such as Andre Agassi and the Williams sisters.
“They’re all just wonderful to watch,” Cheney said.
Cheney has resided in La Jolla for 12 years. Before that, she lived in Santa Monica.