The late American player Laura DuPont, a pioneer of women’s tennis in the 1970s, has been posthumously inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame.
In a professional career that lasted from 1972-84, DuPont reached a career high ranking of No.9 in singles and No.4 in doubles, partnering Pam Shriver. She was a singles quarterfinalist at the US Open in 1971, reached the last 16 at Wimbledon 1972 and 1979, and among other victories won the US Clay Court Championships title in 1977 – defeating Original 9 member Nancy Richey in the final.
Additionally, DuPont was elected by her peers to serve for 10 years as an officer and member of the WTA Board of Directors (1973-82). She sat on the Ranking Committee during that time and was one of several players who spearheaded the development of the first WTA Ranking system.
Billie Jean King remembered: “Laura was an athlete and a woman who knew how to win on and off the court and she embodied everything the founders of women’s professional tennis envisioned when we started our movement in 1970, and she was committed to making the WTA Tour bigger and better for future generations.“
Marshall Happer, a former Executive Director of the USTA and Men’s Tennis Council, led a campaign to seek support from DuPont’s colleagues and close friends to make these inductions a reality. Along with his wife Karen Happer, CEO of Champagne Tennis Etcetera, Happer attended both HOF inductions, eloquently presenting DuPont’s life story in the on-stage ceremonies.
DuPont passed away in 2002, at the age of 52.