TeamSelkirk Advisory Staff Member, JoAnne Russell, 61, is new to the professional ranks of Pickleball, but she is arguably the most famous of all current players. That’s because Russell is well-known for her success in professional tennis and winning the prestigious Wimbledon doubles championship with partner Helen Gourlay Cawley in 1977. Russell, who enjoyed a successful 13-year career in professional tennis, reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 22 in 1983, while winning two WTA tour events in 1984. As a doubles player, Russell enjoyed her greatest success, capturing 4 WTA titles, including the 1977 Wimbledon Doubles Championship, teaming up with Gourlay Cawley to beat #2 seed Chris Evert and Rosie Casals in the first round, then upsetting the top-ranked team of Martina Navratilova and Betty Stöve in the final. Russell, from Naples, FL., headlines a growing list of former tennis professionals and instructors who have joined the Professional Pickleball ranks. Today, Russell is an active tennis and Pickleball instructor, in addition to competing on the professional Pickleball tour, where she has enjoyed success. In fact, parlaying her career as a doubles player in tennis, Russell captured a gold medal with playing partner, Gee Gee Garvin, at the 2017 US Open Pickleball Championships in her hometown of Naples, FL.
2017 US Open Pickleball Championships
Gold in 19-49 5.0 Women’s Doubles with Gee Gee Garvin
Gold in 19-49 5.0 Mixed Doubles with (JR.) Mint Munro
2019 US Open Pickleball Championships
Bronze in Mixed Doubles Age 65+ with Dan McLaughlin
2018 US Open Pickleball Championships
Bronze in Women's Doubles Age 50+ with Stephanie Lane