Tennis Memories

Tennis: Indifferent, Good & Great

I didn’t start playing tennis until well into my 40s. My wife– Mary Lee Smith– had resurrected her tennis game from years past & needed someone to rally with. I first hit a ball in the indoor club on 30th street owned by George Dolan. The club closed soon thereafter and everyone migrated to the Harvest House. Dave Brown was the pro. Many wonderful memories linger there. A member-celebrity event for Balfour that brought the Van Pattens, Bob Mathias, and others to our courts. Bob Mathias was my childhood hero. He was labeled the World’s Greatest Athlete after winning two Olympic Decathlons. I could wait to see him. When he showed up on Court 9 in Mixed, he was 40 lbs overweight and couldn’t hit a ball. Vince Van Patten tried to pick up my daughter at FAC. Great times.
At a point in the late 1970s, the USTA Intermountain Section Championships were played at HHSA (earlier name of the RMTC). The finalists in the Open Singles were a fellow from Sandy Utah and a guy from Las Vegas — literally a “guy,” Guy Fritz. He’s Taylor Fritz’s father. I regret to report that Fritz was — should we say — less than pleasant on the courts. He complained bitterly about service line calls; Jerry Rudy was the service line caller. Jerry stared him down.
Around 1980, I served as president of the Boulder Tennis Association for two years. Each year we ran the Austin Scott Tourney at the CU Law School Courts. One year, an unknown doubles team entered the Open Dubs. Nobody had ever heard of them. South Dakota? Really? And Duke Paluke & his brother? Ha! Well, did we ever find out. They swept through the draw like champs, and everybody wanted to know more about this Paluch guy. The rest is history.

This program is by invitation from the coach only.

Donna Chitambar

  • RMTC Founder, Director of Operations, Director of Marketing, RMTC Stylist!
  • High Performance Tennis Program (HPTP) Coordinator
  • 5430 Kids Tennis Foundation Founder
  • Her enthusiasm, dedication, and expertise are driving forces in the success of the Rocky Mountain Tennis Center
  • Passionate Adult 4.5 player captaining USTA League teams since 2010!
  • Management of high-end tennis clubs since 1999
  • Spa Management 1999-2006 – “Customer Service and hospitality are a must for any Club”
  • Bachelor of Science – Fashion Design, The Ohio State University
  • Kindergarten Teacher – 2 years
  • PTR certified Juniors and Adults
  • USTA Net Generation certified /verified Coach
  • Over 10 years coaching experience focusing on all levels of juniors

         “I love kids, and I love teaching them the game of tennis – Make it Fun and they love it too!”

Duke Paluch

  • RMTC Founder, Executive Director
  • Club Manager of former Harvest House Tennis since 1985
  • 5430 Kids Tennis Foundation Founder
  • Two-time collegiate All American, Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Gustavus Adolphus College Athletic Hall of Fame, 2012
  • Top-ranked junior Northern Section, nationally ranked
  • State of South Dakota – Tennis Hall of Fame inductee
  • Bachelor of Arts – Finance, Gustavus Adolphus College
  • USPTA Certified (Elite Professional)
  • PTR Master of Tennis-Performance; PTR Adult Certified
  • USTA/USPTA Wheelchair Tennis Certified Coach
  • USTA Colorado Tournament Committee Member – 20 years!
  • USTA Net Generation certified /verified Coach
  • Over 30 years coaching experience working with all levels juniors & adults

    “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee!” – Muhammad Ali