We’ve all heard of Arthur Ashe, the first African-American male player to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. But did you know he resided in Richmond Heights from 1960-1961, at the home of his coach Richard Hudlin, which was located at the corner of Laclede Station Road and Bennett Avenue. While he died at age 49, fellow residents and neighbors still fondly remember him.
Currently residing in the same home is an up and coming tennis professional, Lola Oredugba, launching her professional career this month in Spain. Lola grew up in Richmond Heights, and proudly boasts that her first job was at THE HEIGHTS.
Lola started playing tennis when she was 7 years old in the Missouri Valley Conference and played throughout neighboring Midwest states. She practically lived at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park, working as a ball girl, and playing tennis any chance she could get. She attended college at Tennessee State University, playing tennis throughout her collegiate career. She then stayed in Nashville playing on the men’s tennis teams. Lola recently moved back to Richmond Heights in July to begin training for the pro circuit.
Lola trains with her coach, Quinton Argent, Australian tennis player attending college at Missouri Baptist University as a Sports Management major. They’ve been training together at Dwight Davis since July. Similar to Serena Williams, Lola finds that training with a male tennis player allows her to work with a more powerful opponent, pushing her to work on being the best. Quinton also shares criticism and praise in equal measure to continue making Lola a stronger competitor.
Lola tried to work in business and management, but tennis has always been her real passion. Throughout she has continued to play tennis, always dreaming of doing it professionally. She recently went through the International Tennis Federation, gaining approval to travel as a professional. She will now begin the process of accruing points and rankings traveling throughout Spain, North and South America, Europe and Asia.
Lola is also passionate about bringing tennis back to Richmond Heights and will be hosting tennis-training days throughout the next year to expose as many local children to the game as possible. She wants to also incorporate soccer and basketball to remind children to be healthy and choose sports that help you to focus on healthy lifestyles.
Good luck Lola; all your friends and neighbors in Richmond Heights are behind you!
If you would like more information on Lola’s upcoming matches or how you can help support Lola’s professional journey, please click here to visit her website.