A straight set humbling in a junior tournament and the subsequent lonely walk back home played major roles in shaping the tennis career of Tom Lucci.
Lucci was only 14 and the tournament was his first. He lost all 12 games he played. The zeroes on the scoreboard motivated him to much bigger and better results, so much so that Lucci’s commitment has led to a trove of championships and honors.
He is the 18th inductee into the tennis wing of the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.
Lucci was prominent while competing in high school, college, on the Association of Tennis Professional Tour, and in United States Tennis Association play.
His championship run began at the scholastic level when Lucci led Youngstown Chaney High School to three City Series titles (‘74 thru ‘76) as the team’s captain and co-MVP.
At the University of Central Florida, Lucci was part of a nationally ranked team that won a trio of Sunshine State Conference championships. Again, he was a team captain and MVP.
Like a fine wine, Lucci has gotten better with age. He has won nine USTA national championships, three as a single player and six in doubles, stretching from the 40 age group to the 60s.
Lucci continues to captain the USA’s Gordon Trophy team for a competition that originated in 1949 and pits the United States against Canada for players 45 and older. Established after World War II, the Gordon Trophy has been played annually. It is a team competition between Canada and the United States and features the highest caliber of tennis for players 45 and older. The Gordon Trophy’s long history has been held at some of the finest Clubs as the competition has alternated between Canada and the United States.