Madison Brengle has made Delaware proud. As Delaware’s most famous professional tennis player, the 26-year-old becomes the youngest person ever to join the Delaware Tennis Hall of Fame.
The Tennis Hall of Fame dinner at Wilmington Country Club on November 13th also included the youngest male to be inducted into Delaware’s prestigious club – Brint Morrow – and two others for their decades-long devotion to the sport and their communities.
Brengle’s passion for the game started when she was only a toddler. “I started hitting tennis balls when I was two, and by the age of six my mom had to search for appropriate hitting partners for me,” she said to the crowd last night.
In 2015 Brengle reached a WTA ranking of 35 in the world and made it to the round of 16 at the 2015 Australian Open. She has eight professional singles titles and six professional doubles titles and expects to grow an improve her game in the years ahead.
Brint Morrow was overjoyed at the prospect of becoming a Hall of Famer. Glancing around the room, which was filled with many other Hall of Fame awardees, including Brint’s own father Peter Morrow, Brint opened with, “To be standing up here now is surreal.”
Brint carved out quite a name for himself as a junior tennis player in Delaware and later as a top player at UNC Chapel Hill, where he earned All-American honors. Brint enjoyed a staggering 72-0 record in high school, winning every regular season and State playoff match through his victories in every final as a Singles #1 player at Wilmington Friends School. He is the first player in the modern era to accomplish that feat.
And he didn’t lose a match to a fellow Delawarean – junior or adult – between the ages of 9 and 25. In his Junior year of high school Brint upped his game by training in Florida at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy with a cadre of 40 academy players including Venus and Serena Williams as well as Andy Roddick. Ever loyal to Quaker sports and his friends at home, Brint returned to WFS for the spring tennis season of his senior year to win yet another State title.
At the award ceremony Brint paid special thanks to his sister, father and mother, for their unending and selfless devotion to his tennis career. “My mom drove two hours each way to New Jersey almost every day after school to take me to tennis lessons. She gave up her career and so much else to do that, and I am incredibly grateful,” he said.
The Delaware Tennis Foundation hosts the annual Tennis Hall of Fame dinner and thinks long and hard before deciding the slate of award recipients. This year one of their own was asked to join the ranks of the Hall of Fame — DTF President Paul Costello, who lists among his favorite volunteer accomplishments the expansion of the Delaware District After School Club tennis program. “This sport has been very good to me,” he remarked.
Sue Gardiner enthusiastically supports the game of tennis by captaining multiple teams, running leagues, and volunteering as a Board member of USTA Middle States Delaware District. Gardiner, who rounded out this year’s list of four Hall of Fame awardees, owns the Elkton Indoor Tennis Facility, where she has invited USTA teams and kids in the Junior Team Tennis program to come play.
In introducing her, her son Dave said that his mom inspired her children to try hard and never give up, but still she regularly beats him on the tennis courts “love-love.” But Dave’s ready to take up the challenge just one more time — not because he thinks he can beat her but for bragging rights. “Now I can say that I have played against a Hall of Famer!”