Where Are They Now?
Catching Up with Christi Turdo on College Tennis and the Invention of Hop-a-Razzi
by Marcia Frost, 13 March 2014
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Christi Turdo has been involved in tennis for over 30 years, from playing in the juniors, college and pros, to teaching young players. It was in the latter role that she also invented Hop-a-Razzi, a revolutionary basket that modernizes ball retrieval.
From her office just outside Chicago, Turdo had a lot to say about choosing the right college, what she learned from the playing experience, and how Hop-a-Razzi came to be.
Questions and Answers
Marcia Frost (MF): We're going to start at the beginning here. Can you tell me a little about your junior tennis career?
Christi Turdo (CT): I'm from Florida and I played all the [USTA] Nationals. I'm 51, so we're going way back. I played junior tennis, ranked pretty high, and then I played high school tennis as well and won States a couple of years.
I played junior college my first year and we won Nationals (NJCAA) that year. From there I went to Ohio State and we won the Big Ten Championships. I played No. 1 for Ohio State in singles and doubles.
MF: What made you decide to go to junior college first?
CT: I went to Palm Beach Community College down in Florida, where I'm from. I wasn't really ready to leave home yet. I didn't really think I was ready to be on my own so far away.
I started tennis late. I didn't start until I was 10, maybe 11, and that's late back then - most started young. I didn't feel like I was completely developed as a player yet. I made a pact with myself that if we won Nationals that year I would move on, and we won Nationals. Ohio State, they actually had recruited me out of the juniors, gave me a full ride.
MF: How did you even end up looking at the Midwest when you were from Florida?
CT: I actually had a lot of options. You could pick only five schools to visit, and I had like ten people looking to me for recruiting.
I picked Indiana, Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio State and Georgia. I went and I visited each one of those places. [At Ohio State] I loved the coach, and I loved the people - I ended up falling in love with the people in the Midwest.