The teenage Jewels

I can’t wait to feel the energy of New York City pulsing through my veins when I attend the WIE Symposium on September 20th, and see my east coast friends. Although I do feel just a wee bit frustrated that I will be missing two of my favorite events by just a hair. Fashion week finishes moments before I arrive, and the US Open is on now.


Bill Friedman Jr.

I was a tennis brat. My father brought the US Davis Cup team to Des Moines for a charity event exhibition, and then the USLTA indoor circuit to Vets Auditorium for tournaments three years running when I was a young teenager.

US Davis Cup Team

I took it for granted at the time, but looking back, it was quite something to watch my father hit balls with the likes of Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, and Ilie Nastase while holding his own admirably well on the court. I bumped into Mr. Nastase in the Wimbledon players lounge twenty years later. Of course I had to reintroduce myself (I was a kid the last time I’d seen him) as Bill Friedman Jr.’s daughter, but he remembered dad very well, and graciously invited me to join him for a drink.

Since I rebelled, dad had Tatjana on the courts young

Much to dad’s disappointment I never became a decent tennis player, but I did love watching those tournaments and flirting with the cute young players! You have to admit they are HOT. If I were thirty years younger I’d have a massive crush on Rafa.

Dad with Bobby Riggs

There was one player in particular, a young Australian called Ian Fletcher that I developed a wild crush on. He had long blond hair and played guitar at the party my parents threw to welcome the players every year. I was only fourteen, and he knew I had a crush, so he humored me with an occasional wink during his doubles match.

Mom and dad with “battle of the sexes” champ, Billie Jean King

When I was fifteen, I went to my first Wimbledon with my parents and sister, Patty. We were sitting in the players box at center court when someone came up from behind, masking my eyes, saying “guess who?” I only knew one Australian, so it wasn’t hard. I was so flattered he remembered me! My heart was doing flip flops and flutters, as dad reluctantly agreed to let me roam the outer courts with Ian, but I got the “don’t mess with me look” as he said be back by 6:00PM sharp.

Driving my sister nuts with “Ian, Ian, Ian…”

We made the rounds, stopping to watch a women’s doubles match. Ian pointed to a blond woman, and told me she was going to be a huge star. It was Martina Navratilova. Before I knew it, it was 5:55PM, and I had to go back to meet my family. Ian invited me to come to Anabel’s nightclub with him that evening, and kissed my cheek as I left. Of course my parents forbade me to go, so I spent the rest of our trip throughout England and France torturing them as I pined for Ian, Ian, Ian (pronounced with a breathy sigh).

Dinner with Emily Cash in London last summer

I never did see Ian again, but years later I became great friends with Australian Wimbledon champ Pat Cash and his wife, Emily. Pat was amused when I relayed the story about Ian, and told me he is now the head pro at a country club coaching tomorrow’s tennis stars. I wonder if any of them will be playing the US Open this week at Arthur Ashe Stadium?

I hope to see all of you New Yorkers spreading the love at the WIE Symposium with Sarah Brown, Arianna Huffington, Donna Karan, and a host of other powerful women conducting panels! It’s promises to be an awe inspiring day, and one that will hopefully make the world a better place for generations to come. 
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  • September 7, 2010
    7:07 pm

    no photos of Ian, Ian, Ian?Nancy Wardle

  • September 7, 2010
    7:08 pm

    I loved tennis back then too…..esp. Bjorn B and Vitas G….I need to look up this Ian dude! i have a feeling I know exactly what he looks like ! I love that pic of you in the rainbow T-shirt….thankx babe great read xxBeth Bovaird

  • September 7, 2010
    7:09 pm

    on 20th september and about that time, we're having the Milan Fashion Week: thinking of all of the things I'll have to prepare behind the scenes at work. Argh! Have a great time in NYC!Manuela Salvade

  • September 7, 2010
    7:12 pm

    No, Nancy, no pics of Ian, Ian, Ian. I found a current one online, but it wasn't nearly as cute as he was back in the day.Manuela – what do you do? Sounds fabulous.Beth – miss you darlink!

  • September 7, 2010
    8:17 pm

    Hey Jewels! *waves*I didn't know you played! I taught myself how to play at the neighborhood court in elementary school and played all four years in high school (no. 3 on varsity). Watched tennis on TV all the time. We know who your favorite male player was. Who was your favorite female player? Mine was Chris Evert (and still is). Pure class. I miss watching her and Martina battle it out.P.S. I'm almost 43 and I have a crush on Rafa. Lara Hayes

  • September 7, 2010
    9:36 pm

    Have a great time at the conference! Hope there are lots of reports online about it. Promise that you will give us all the highlights once you're back?

  • September 7, 2010
    11:20 pm

    My mum had the biggest crush on Bjorn when I was a kid.Nique Quesada

  • September 7, 2010
    11:58 pm

    What can I say?? Australian men….SWOON!!!( Am I biased?? heheheColleen Moffatt

  • September 8, 2010
    1:01 am

    ohhh Ian oh crushes at that age are so intense lol Im going to be in Seattle otherwise Id be in NYC for WIE 🙂 Look forward to your posts from the event 🙂

  • September 8, 2010
    3:44 am

    What a great story! It's sad tho that you have to miss both the U.S. Open and Fashion Week. However, the WIE event sounds amazing – the panels and the moderators are fantastic! NYC in the fall is just amazing, imo.

  • September 8, 2010
    3:29 pm

    I took tennis lessons when I was younger, I loved Bjorn Borg and he was my hero with John Mc Enroe. I played through my teenage years for my school but then I got sick and now I'm unlikely ever to play again Tennis does nothing for me these days,I don't see the skill there any more, I loved all those wonderful rallies, and the skills….now its pure power and aces.

  • September 8, 2010
    7:11 pm

    I am hoping to go to the WIE Symposium…it sounds fantastic!Andrea Schlegel-Wallace

  • September 8, 2010
    7:16 pm

    I actually am up to authorize the fashion shows in my town, in agreement with the Police and the Monuments and Fine Arts Office if the shows take place close to monuments. The September shows so far authorized are John Richmond, Armani, Versace and Prada. Yes, it is a great job, I have the chance to come to know great, inspiring people and am honoured to work with such greatness.Manuela Salvade

  • September 8, 2010
    7:25 pm

    Lara – my father would have wanted to adopted you for teaching yourself like that – he really was disappointed in me for not playing. I loved watching those rallies your talking about too little Amanda – sportsmanship at that level is like watching pure art in action.I agree Lys – love NYC in September, and the symposium promises to be fascinating!

  • September 8, 2010
    7:26 pm

    Very cool Manuela – I really miss the fashion world.

  • September 9, 2010
    2:01 am

    I loved tennis as a child and yes I did play too. I was self taught to begin with and later took lessons. I loved it. It's a pitty I stopped. Sadly, my younger brother could never take this sport up. Numerous lessons failed and he hated it.My gorgeous godson Joshua who is eight has been taking lessons for the past couple of years and has been in small tournaments. We are all hoping he becomes a CHAMP one day!I can understand your crush on Ian Fletcher. I had one on Pat Cash in the early 80's and was over the moon when he won Wimbledon in '87 (I think it was '87). My Godfather lived around the corner from his mother's home and I always kept an eye out for him when I was over for a visit (sadly, I never did see him), but I did score an autographed photo. Aussie Mum

  • September 9, 2010
    4:19 pm

    Have a wonderful time! I'll think of you on the 20th! 🙂