La Jolla’s Suella Steel to play for U.S. in Super-Seniors championships

By Phil Dailey

Staff Writer

La Jolla’s Suella Steel will represent the United States next month at the U.S. Kitty Godfree Cup Team for women 65 and over.

Steel, 68, will be on the team for the 30th ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships on red clay at Ali Bey Club Manavgat, Antalya, Turkey, Oct. 11-16. This annual event sponsored by the International Tennis Federation is comparable to Fed Cup and Davis Cup competition for professional tour players.

Last year, the team placed third.

“This is the biggest thrill, to represent the United States,” Steel said. “It’s unbelievable. There’s a lot more pressure on you. When you’re in a tournament for yourself, it’s OK to lose, but it’s not OK to lose for the United States.”

Steel is one of a four-woman team chosen by the United States Tennis Association from the top American players in her age division. Her teammates include playing captain Betty Wachob (Panama City. Fla), Charleen Hillebrand, (San Pedro) and Lee Delfausse (Waitsfield, Vt).

“This is my 21st cup, and my fifth trip to Antalya,” Steel said.

Steel, ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in 65 singles and doubles, offers valuable depth to the team. She has won 76 national championships including two gold slams in doubles and has won six ITF world doubles championships.

Steel was inducted into the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007 and the 2010 Southern California Senior Tennis Hall of Fame.

Steel, whose love for tennis runs deep, also teaches tennis at La Jolla Alta Master Council.

“Quite frankly, I like tennis because it’s defined,” Steel said. “The ball is either in, or it is out. There’s no politics in it.”