Nfld. & Labrador·Video

Meet the women blazing a trail to the Tennis N.L. Hall of Fame

They've won provincial and national titles, medals at the Canada Games, and worked at the highest levels of professional tennis. But if you don't play the sport, you might not know their names. Now these four exceptional women hope to raise the sport's profile with their induction into the Tennis N.L. Hall of Fame.

Their list of achievements is longer than a tennis racket, both on and off the court

The world on her racket: how tennis gave these women an ace in life

3 months ago
Duration 4:10
They've won provincial and national titles, medals at the Canada Games, and worked at the highest levels of professional tennis. Now, Melissa Pine, Jennifer Bishop, Heather MacLean, and Daria O'Reilly have been inducted into the Tennis Newfoundland & Labrador Hall of Fame. And they want their story to inspire a new generation of players from The Rock.

They've won provincial and national titles, medals at the Canada Games, and worked at the highest levels of professional tennis. They've earned scholarships to American universities, travelled the world with a racket, and rubbed elbows with greats like Serena Williams, Eugenie Bouchard and Billie Jean King.

But if you don't play the sport, you might not know their names, or their stories.

Now these four exceptional women are hoping to raise the sport's profile in the province with their induction into the Tennis Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame. Melissa Pine, Jennifer Bishop, Heather MacLean and Daria O'Reilly  were inducted at an event this summer. By shining a spotlight on the trail blazed by the women, dubbed the "fearsome foursome" by the event's organizers, Tennis N.L. hopes to show a path that today's young players can follow.

A composite image of Jennifer Bishop posing with Bianca Andreescu and Melissa Pine posing with Serena Williams.
Rubbing elbows with the greats: Jennifer Bishop with Bianca Andreescu, and Melissa Pine with Serena Williams. (Submitted by Nancy Taylor/Tennis N.L.)

"Billie Jean King is one of my role models, and she always says, 'if you can see it, you can be it,'" said Melissa Pine, a vice-president of the Women's Tennis Association.

"The ability to travel the world, the ability to earn an education, the ability to build a career in sport business, all of these things are out there. And so it's important to be able to share that so people know."

Jennifer Bishop knows how true that is. As chair of Tennis Canada's board of directors, and a member of the prestigious Davis Cup Committee, she works with players at the very top of the sport and at the development level.

Four women pose with certificates during a ceremony in St. John's.
Tennis N.L. Hall of Fame inductees, from left: Daria O'Reilly, Melissa Pine, Jennifer Bishop and Heather MacLean. (Submitted by Nancy Taylor/Tennis N.L.)

"We really need to champion these success stories, so that everybody knows about it," said Bishop. "We shouldn't be just learning about it within the tennis community. The fact that we have people having such tremendous success on the global stage really needs to be made known in this province."

The women all agree that a key ingredient in their success was the tennis facilities where they learned the sport — facilities that are now in desperate need of repair, especially with St. John's set to host the Canada Games in 2025. Watch the video above to learn how the "fearsome foursome" changed the game, and how the next generation of players in this province could do it again. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zach Goudie is a journalist and video producer with CBC in St. John's.

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