POWER AND GRACE
Cecilia “Ceci” Martinez began playing tennis at age 9 and was one of the top players in Northern California throughout her junior years. She graduated from San Francisco’s Presentation High School and San Francisco State University where she was the USTA Intercollegiate Women’s Singles Champion in 1966.
In November 1970, Martinez was instrumental in helping to launch the first all-women’s professional tennis event — the “Virginia Slims Invitational Tour” at Westwood Club in Richmond, Virginia. Earlier at Forest Hills, women players considered boycotting Jack Kramer’s Pacific Southwest tournament due to the 12:1 differential in prize money between male and female players. Martinez produced a one-page questionnaire designed to uncover the true popularity of women’s tennis, and with her doubles partner, Esme Emanuel, collected surveys whose results sent a powerful message to the tennis establishment — fans liked watching women’s tennis, agreed there should be equity in prize monies, and would pay to attend a women-only tournament.
During her competitive career spanning 20+ years, Martinez was ranked #1 in singles and doubles in Northern California, and nationally ranked #9 in juniors, #11 in women’s singles, #4 in women’s doubles, and in 1993, #11 in 35 doubles. She won tournaments in ten countries, and played in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Wimbledon and Forest Hills between 1965 and 1976. Since retiring, Martinez has been a teaching pro and tennis director in the San Francisco Bay Area, a freelance travel writer and photographer, and a real estate broker.
- Winner of John Whitney and Rancho Park International Sportsmanship Awards — 1965
- NCTA Girls Intersectional Team Champions — 1965
- Ranked #1 singles and doubles in Northern California — 1965
- Junior Wightman Cup team member — 1966, 1967 and 1968
- USTA Intercollegiate Women’s Singles Champion from San Francisco State University — 1966
- Philippine Open Champion in singles and mixed doubles with Eddie Cruz — 1970
- Wimbledon Singles Quarterfinalist (defeating Virginia Wade) — 1970
- Nationally ranked as high as #11 in singles and #4 in doubles
- Co-Author of Tennis Psychology with Harold Geist — 1976
- Tennis Director at Konocti Harbor Inn — 1978–1979
- Teaching Pro at San Francisco Tennis Club — 1980–1983
- Inducted into San Francisco State University Hall of Fame — 1983
- USPTA certification of “Professional 1” — 1984
- Head Tennis Pro at University Club of Palo Alto — 1984–1985
- Head Tennis Pro at Peninsula Golf & Country Club — 1986–1987
- California Real Estate Broker — 1989–Present (as of 2014)
- Team Fundraiser in Walk to Defeat ALS — 2007–Present (as of 2014)
- Competes with her dogs in Agility, Obedience and Lure Coursing