Marilyn first picked up a racket at age 11 and has been around the game ever since. She started dreaming big as a top-ranked junior and won numerous Eastern tournaments growing up. Through it all, she enjoyed the unwavering support of her parents.
Marilyn used her early accomplishments in the Eastern section as a springboard for success. She played for Queens College and also broke into the world Top 30 by the end of the ‘60s, playing events both nationally and internationally.
Marilyn considers her first time competing at the Orange Bowl Junior Championships in 1964 a junior career highlight. Eastern supported her trip, which gave her the self-belief to win. “I was so proud that Eastern had the confidence in me to fly me to the Orange Bowl,” she said. She made the most of the experience, finishing as the runner-up in singles for the 16s. Marilyn also finished as a finalist in 1966 and claimed the doubles title in the 18s.
She went on to play eight US Opens, two Wimbledons, and the French Open. Marilyn advanced to a career-best third round at the US Open and traveled to play in France, Italy, Colombia, Venezuela, and other countries around the world. Playing at Wimbledon, however, was one of her proudest moments as an athlete. “The history behind Wimbledon is what makes it extraordinary,” she said.
Steve Ross (pictured above with Marilyn), a longtime friend of Marilyn’s and a legendary Eastern player who was inducted into the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame last year, says Marilyn had the drive to succeed from a young age. “What made Marilyn successful was hard work,” said Steve. “She was a terrific competitor when she played the game.” Together, Marilyn and Steve formed a top mixed doubles team in the Eastern section.
After her playing career ended, Marilyn switched to coaching. She’s worked with some of Eastern’s most celebrated players at the Port Washington Tennis Academy, including John McEnroe, Mary Carillo, and Vitas Gerulaitis. Now, she coaches adults in Florida.
Reflecting on her tennis career and her latest vote of confidence from Eastern by being inducted into the Hall of Fame five decades after her Orange Bowl trip, Marilyn is thrilled. “Again, it just comes full circle,” she said. “It’s amazing.”