Jane Crofford

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Growing up in her hometown of Hartselle, Alabama, where girls weren’t allowed to compete in organized sports, Jane Crofford didn’t even have a tennis court on which to play until some surplus recreation funds provided for two. And the nets were made of wire from a cyclone fence!

Nevertheless, Crofford overcame these obstacles to become an excellent tennis player whose game was built on the senior circuit and one of the original supporters and workers for the National Senior Women’s Tennis Association. For many years a Nashville-area resident, Crofford, not surprisingly, met her husband on the tennis courts at Vanderbilt. She made her debut in the mid-1960s and started winning in the 1970s. She is now the holder of over thirty national championships and was ranked number one in women forty-five or older in 1981. Crofford just laughs and waves these honors aside. “I play because I love it and it’s my mental therapy.” She feels “doubles is the fun; singles is the hard work.” It sure is for her opponents, most of whom she literally overpowers. “I’m just bigger and stronger than the others. That comes from milking cows and hauling hay.” Crofford also spends hours trading shots with her “family” (all those junior players whom she umpires and directs in tournaments). “They’re like sons and daughters to me. I feel like I have a million kids.” Jane Crofford, queen of the Nashville netters, has left her mark on Tennessee and the Whole Wide World of Tennis.

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