Not many locals know that one of the 20th century’s best tennis players, Stan Smith, is a hometown boy. As Altadena author Kathleen Tuttle wrote in her new book, Altadena Town & Country Club: A Centennial History, Smith grew up in Altadena, and his dad, Ken Smith, was the tennis coach at PCC. The family couldn’t afford membership in the Altadena club, but then-pro Lin Shampine gave the lad some lessons, saw his talent, and arranged for him to join the club’s junior tennis program. That’s where he started playing competitively; he then went on to become an NCAA champ for USC and then to turn pro, collecting titles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Davis Cup.
In honor of ATCC‘s 100th birthday, Smith returned recently to his old courts to play an exhibition match with club pros Fred Guerra and Danny Jauregui and former club member Bill Kellogg, who now runs the tennis program at the acclaimed La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. It was a SRO crowd in Altadena for the match, and the 60something Smith controlled the court without seeming to make the slightest effort. Besides putting on a tennis show, he spoke to the crowd about his young teen years in Altadena, and stayed afterward to sign copies of the new club history book.