JOANNE RUSSELL


Trinity University

Raised in a tennis-loving family in Naples, Florida, JoAnne Russell (b. 1954) sharpened her skills as a youngster hitting against senior male players. Recognizing her potential, local coach Tommy Boys took her on as a student and saw her rise to the top of the collegiate and professional ranks. At Trinity University, Russell won the national collegiate doubles title with Donna Stockton in 1975 and helped her team capture two national championships. Turning pro after her junior year, she reached No. 1 in the world doubles rankings in 1977 after a stunning victory in Wimbledon ladies’ doubles with Helen Gourlay.

Playing on the pro circuit until 1988, Russell was also tapped by major TV networks as a broadcast commentator for Grand Slam and WTA events. Never losing her competitive drive, she won three Grand Slam master’s crowns in doubles and captured a World Cup singles title in 2009. From 1998 to 2005, she served as assistant coach at the University of Illinois, earning ITA Big 10 Assistant Coach of the Year honors. A USTA-certified High Performance Coach, Russell now works as a teaching pro in Pacific Palisades, California.

Career Highlights

  • Member, 1973 U.S. Junior Wightman Cup Team
  • Member of two U.S. National Collegiate Championship Teams, Trinity University 1973, 1975 (runner–up 1974)
  • U.S. Collegiate Doubles Champion (with Donna Stockton) 1975
  • 17–1 dual match record in singles at Trinity 1972–75; All-American 1975
  • Professional Tour Player 1975–1988; 4 Doubles Titles, 10 Finals; 2 Singles Titles
  • World No. 1 Ranking in Doubles (with Rosie Casals) 1977
  • Ranked in U.S. Top 10 in Singles 1976–78; Career High World Singles Ranking No. 11 1977
  • Wimbledon Doubles Champion 1977 (with Helen Gourlay)
  • U.S. Open Mixed Doubles Finalist in 1981; Doubles Quarterfinalist 1975, 1981–3, 1985
  • Wimbledon Quarterfinalist Singles 1982; Doubles 1978, 1982; Mixed Doubles 1982
  • Member, U.S. Wightman Cup Team 1977
  • Member, Pittsburgh Triangles World Team Tennis 1977–78
  • Wimbledon 35-and-Over Doubles Champion 1993
  • U.S. Open Master Series Doubles Champion 1993–94, 2002
  • Member, U.S. Maureen Connolly Cup Championship Team 2009
  • World Cup 55 Singles Champion 2009
  • USTA National Indoor 40 Doubles Champion 2009
  • Commentator for NBC, ESPN, USA Network, StarTV, Turner Broadcasting 1980–90
  • Teaching pro and traveling coach, USTA Junior Development Program 1990–97
  • Volunteer Assistant Women’s Tennis Coach, University of Florida 1995–98; 1996 and 1998 NCAA champions
  • Assistant Women’s Tennis Coach, University of Illinois, 1998–2005; team went from No. 75 to No. 22 national ranking
  • ITA Assistant Coach of the Year, Big 10 Conference 1998
  • Inducted into the Florida Tennis Hall of Fame 1993
  • Inducted into the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame 2009
  • Teaching pro, Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California January 2010–present