LJ woman to play for U.S. in championship

Suella Steel has played tennis all around the world for many years, but she says she never gets tired of the pride she feels playing for her country.

Steel, a 67-year-old La Jolla resident, was recently named as one of four members — one of two from San Diego County — of the United States’ Kitty Godfree Cup team for women 65 and older. The team will play in the International Tennis Federation Super-Seniors World Team Championships in Perth, Australia, from Nov. 2-7.

“This is the reason I keep playing tennis, to be ranked in the top and be able to represent the United States,” Steel said. “It is the best thing to be able to represent your country — it’s awesome.”

Steel will be joined by Del Mar resident Cathie Anderson, Donna Fales of Coral Gables, Fla., and Lee Delfausse of Waitsfield, Vt., on the team. The event is comparable to Fed Cup and Davis Cup competition for professional tour players.

Steel is ranked No. 1 in the U.S. in women’s 65-69 singles and doubles. She has won 75 national championships, including two gold slams in doubles, and has won six ITF world doubles championships. A veteran of Cup Team play, this is her 20th year competing for the USA.

Last year, the U.S. team finished second to Germany, although the Americans won the event the previous two years, Steel said.

“Hopefully we’ll be in the top two again this year,” Steel said, adding that it’s easier to win as a player in the younger portion of each five-year age bracket. “We probably won’t win it again until I get in the 70s.”

Steel, who was inducted into the San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame two years ago, is a native of Atlanta but has lived in La Jolla since 1981. She works as a teaching professional at La Jolla Country Club and plays at La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

Gregory Ball covers sports for La Jolla Light. He can be reached at ballgregory@yahoo.