Flo Blanchard


Endowed with an innate sense of fairness and an encyclopedic knowledge of tennis, Flo Blanchard (b.1920) blazed a trail for women umpires. She was a tennis novice when she married umpire Mike Blanchard in 1950 but learned the game quickly, officiating at her first match that same year. Going on to a distinguished four-decade career as an umpire, Blanchard also achieved sucess as a top-ranked senior player.

From the U.S. Nationals to the NCAA to the Olympics, Blanchard skillfully negotiated even the most heated matchces, often as the only women official in the stadium. Fittingly, in 1975, Blanchard became the first woman to win the USTA John T. McGovern Umpires’ Award. Among many honors, she and her husband received the ATP’s coveted Court Official of the Year Award in 1976, and were inducted into the Southwest Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 1994.

Career Highlights

  • Second woman to umpire at U.S. championship finals 1953; seven-time finals match umpire
  • Bermuda Singles Champion 1957
  • Mary Chess Award for Umpire of the Year 1958
  • Ranked in Top 10 of U.S. senior players 1960
  • Ladies’ Home Journal Award for Distinguished Contribution to Women’s Tennis 1971
  • Umpire for Women’s National Collegiate Championships 1971-1985
  • Referee for NCAA National Women’s Collegiate Tournament 1982-1983
  • Women’s Professional Tour Umpire (USTA/Virginia Slims) 1973-1978
  • First woman to receive USTA John T. McGovern Umpires’ Award 1975
  • First woman to umpire U.S. Wightman Cup competition 1975
  • First woman to co-chair USTA Umpires Committee 1975-1976
  • Co-recipient (with husband Mike Blanchard) of the JAX Award for Court Official of the Year, given by the Association of Tennis Pros (ATP) 1975-1976 season
  • Winner of the USTA Service Bowl 1983
  • Selected by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) as one of two American umpires at the Los Angeles Olympics 1984
  • Referee for USTA Satellite Circuit 1985-1991
  • Honorary Member, International Lawn Tennis Club of the United States 1986
  • Inducted into the SWTA Hall of Fame 1994