Eighteen-year-old Brenda Schultz is 6-foot-1 and weighs 170 pounds, which may make her the Netherlands’ biggest export.
Some believe Schultz is one of the young tennis players to watch in the next few years, a sure-fire top 10 player. This may very well be true, but if tennis doesn’t work out, she would probably make a great free safety.
“She has two weapons,” said Ted Tinling, a women’s tennis expert. “Her serve and her grunt. They are both quite formidable.”
The sound and the fury of Brenda Schultz and her serve were put to the test Monday in her first-round match against Robin White in the Virginia Slims of Indian Wells.
Schultz dropped the first set and struggled to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory that earned her the chance to play second-seeded Helena Sukova in the next round.
Until 1987, women’s professional tennis did not have Brenda Schultz, but soon, they may have her in a very big way. Her ranking has improved from 150 to 38.
“The top 10, no problem,” said Bill Belser, Schultz’s coach.
Against White, Schultz had lots of problems, not the least of which being her serve. Schultz served six aces, but her second serve was quite small.
Schultz said she has always been one of the two tallest girls in her classes at school, but she is now reconciled to the distance between her toes and her curly blonde hair.
The secret to feeling good standing tall?
“You just have to walk straight,” Schultz said.
Just getting there is not always easy for Schultz on the court, where agility is something she continues to work on.
Belser said that he envisions Schultz, who grew up as a baseliner on clay courts, as a serve-and-volley specialist. He said her game may carry her well beyond her best Grand Slam finishes to date, the round of 16 at last year’s French Open and this year’s Australian Open.
Tracy Austin plays Nicole Provis in the second match on Stadium Court today, after Hana Mandlikova’s match with qualifier Akiko Kijimuta. Since Provis is seeded seventh, Austin’s return to tournament singles after a five-year absence will be an uphill struggle. . . . Wild-card entry Kathy Rinaldi withdrew because of a back injury and was replaced by Jo-Anne Faull.