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Larry-Lineberry-small6.jpgWhen Englishman Major Walter C. Wingfield invented lawn tennis back in 1873 it was only meant to be a game played at garden parties by distinguished guests.
By Brian Bergner Jr.
Larson Newspapers
 

When Englishman Major Walter C. Wingfield invented lawn tennis back in 1873 it was only meant to be a game played at garden parties by distinguished guests.

By 1877 the game of tennis caught fire and the first world championship was held in Great Britain at Wimbledon.

To this day, Wimbledon is still the most prestigious tournament in the sport of tennis.

Larry Lineberry, director of tennis at the Sedona Racquet Club, discovered at an early age tennis was the game for him.

Born Oct. 5, 1951, in Hampton, Va., Lineberry’s personality and passion for the game of tennis was infectious.

“I love the game of tennis, it’s my life,” Lineberry said.

Like Wingfield, Lineberry is trying to make his mark on the game of tennis. That mark may be small looking at it from a world-wide perspective but it’s as big as can be right here in Sedona.

In 1990, Lineberry earned the right to be called a Master Professional and was awarded that honor by the U.S. Professional Tennis Association.

Few have known the accomplishment personally, as there are over 14,000 professional tennis instructors around the world and less then 1 percent of them are Master Professionals.

“It’s an elite club,” Lineberry said.

In 1991, Lineberry left a private country club in Virginia after 13 years of service to take the job at the SRC.

“I knew I liked it out West here, especially in Arizona,” Lineberry said.

Lineberry learned much of what he knows today after working closely with Ian Crookenden, a world-class tennis pro from New Zealand during his 13-year tenure in Virginia.

“It was an honor and a privilege to work with a man like Ian [Crookenden],” Lineberry said.

After leaving the SRC in 1997, Lineberry returned and teamed up with John DePoe and a group of investors to buy SRC in 2001.

Lineberry’s job was to immediately establish a tennis presence in the Sedona community and he did so with great success.

Since then, on an annual basis, Lineberry has brought nationally recognized tennis tournaments to Sedona where hundreds of players are attracted to not only a beautiful area but a consistent ability from Lineberry to run a good tournament.

“Players want to know that a tournament is going to be run properly. They spend a lot of money to come and play, so I make sure they have a great time,” Lineberry said.

Linberry estimates the economic impact on Sedona is around $500,000 from the five amateur events every year.

 The reason for that is almost all of the players are not from this area so hotels, restaurants, Jeep tours and other businesses benefit.

Success is nothing new to Lineberry, as it happens

everywhere he goes, from earning a bachelor’s degree in 1973 in business management from Old Dominion University, to being a top singles player while in college, to earning more than $50,000 playing tennis professionally and being ranked No. 4 nationally in the U.S. Professinal Tennis Association men’s open doubles in 1981.

Lineberry believes however the biggest success in his life has been his family.

“Our family is a team and we work together to get things done,” Lineberry said.

 Now, an independent contractor, after DePoe bought out his SRC shares in 2004, Lineberry loves to spend time with his son, 15-year- old Alexander.

At a junior level, Alexander is recognized as one of the more prominent names in the state of Arizona.

He also finds time to be the head coach of the tennis team at Sedona Red Rock High, something he was opposed to at first.

“At first I wasn’t sure if I could coach the high school but now I’m glad I did and I enjoy my time with those kids,” Lineberry said.

Lineberry believes tennis teaches life lessons which are important for young people to understand.

“I’m still in tennis because I’m still learning my craft. Tennis teaches a young player many life lessons that they may not get somewhere else,” Lineberry said.

Finally, Lineberry believes with his experience in tennis and his presence in the community that tennis will become a huge part of the Sedona community soon.

“The game is good for the community and anyone from age 4 to age 70 and up can learn to play and have fun doing it,” Lineberry said.



Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, Ext. 131., or e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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