Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association was honoured on Sunday May 3rd by being inducted into the Welland Sports Wall of Fame.
Stacey had moved to Welland at age 10 with her mother and started her career in tennis at a very early age on the red clay courts at Welland Tennis Club under the tutelage and mentorship of Dutchy Doerr. Her first “job” was cleaning the courts and her reward a quarter or a soda. She also learned to play tennis at the club which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary (See Ontario Tennis Fall 2013) and continued to work part-time as an assistant instructor. It was with the support of Dutchy that Allastair first came into contact with the world of international professional tennis in her summer job as a runner with IMG Canada at the Canadian Open.
After graduating, Stacey worked at the OTA for 4 years before joining Tennis Canada in a sports marketing role, where she was not only responsible for securing sponsorship deals with companies like Rogers and Rexall, but also served as Tournament Director, playing a major role in the operation of the tournament. In 2006 she joined the Women’s Tennis Association as President and was promoted to her current position in 2009. She considers securing equal prize money for women at the French Open and Wimbledon and a $500 milion television deal for women’s tennis to be two of the highlights of her career.
Although Stacey now operates on the international sports stage and has even been inducted into the Rogers Cup Hall of Fame, she still maintains a strong affection and connection to the Welland Tennis Club and the people there who helped her develop a love of tennis and dreams of a career in the sport.
Al Dicenso, Allaster’s former mixed doubles partner, who nominated her for induction in Welland’s sports shrine commented, “For a small-town girl from the Rose City to head all of women’s tennis is a phenomenal achievement.” “What she lacked in size she made up for in heart. She was always a tremendous worker,” he added .
Stacey responded , “I am the only female in the world leading a global sport. I was a kid, from a small club, from a small town. Anything is possible if you give 110% of yourself to your goals and your dreams. Ultimately, you will have coaches who will support you. However, your success is 100% dependent upon you. Own your success, own your destiny and dream big.”
Thanks go to Tady Saczkowski of Welland Tennis Club for the photo and alerting us to this story.