Former tennis pro Lindsay Lee-Waters talks with LaGrange tennis

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The LaGrange tennis program was in for a treat on Tuesday as former women’s professional tennis player Lindsay Lee-Waters came to the school to talk tennis, life and so much more. It was a long winding journey for Lee-Waters, whose influence stretches far and wide in the tennis community.

Perhaps her most remarkable achievement was returning to play on the professional tour after having a child which was a rarity, to say the least in the 1990s.

“I don’t think I truly appreciated a lot of those big moments until I came back from having a kid because I came back with a more mature approach,” Lee-Waters said. “When I first turned pro I was just some coky kid from Oklahoma and went on the court expecting to be there.” 

A trailblazer, Lee-Waters never found a glass ceiling she could not shatter. Her playing days are behind her, but Lee-Waters has found numerous ways to pass on what she has learned to the next generation of tennis players. 

“When my daughter was 10 and my son was five and I was traveling for tennis and they had their tennis tournaments as well and it became very difficult to keep up with everybody’s schedules,” Lee-Waters said. “Me and my husband came up with a calendar app that features where it has all the tournaments listed and rankings, so you can see who is in a tournament and how playing in it might affect your rankings.”

Lee-Waters emphasized this as everybody who plays the game has to plan for life after playing tennis. 

Oklahoma is far from a traditional tennis powerhouse, but Lee-Waters found a way to make it work. She is now in the Oklahoma Tennis Hall of Fame in what felt like a full-circle moment for her. This is far from the only full-circle moment for Lee-Waters is recent years as her son is now 17 and can beat his former professional mother.

“He’s playing in tournaments and doing pretty well, trying to earn a college scholarship,” she said.
Most of those in attendance looked on in awe as Lee-Waters described her various experiences playing at grand slam events over the years as many in the room have dreamed about walking out on the very same courts she made her own not so very long ago.

“The two hours before I was playing a match against Serena (Williams) I went to warm up with my hitting partner and literally two hours before I’m about to be on live TV in a huge stadium with tons of people, playing one of the best players of all time and I could not make a shot,” Lee-Waters said with a laugh. “I took a deep breath and I just said, ‘Trust yourself.’ When you put in the work, whatever happens happens, and you just have to go out there and be confident in yourself.”

Lee-Waters, a native of Oklahoma, is now an honorary Granger. Or “I’m a farmer now” as she affectionately proclaimed as she was bestowed some LaGrange High tennis gear.

The LaGrange tennis teams are currently thriving and this could be just the morale boost the team needs heading into the home stretch of the season. Both the boys and girls have claimed the one seed heading into the region tournament and both will have eyes on claiming a region championship.