MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s likely you’ll see a pair of sisters coaching, playing or directing any given time at the Dunes Tennis Club.
Running the club is all in the family for them, and so is becoming ranked tennis players.
“Katrina, she’s got all the shots. She likes the volley, top shots, she slices. She’s got all the shots. Marissa, she hates to lose. Yeah, she’s really tough,” Fritz Gildemeister said of his daughters.
He was a tennis pro himself, coming to the United States from Chile on a tennis scholarship to the University of Southern Illinois.
As fate would have it, he met his wife, Diane, on the tennis court.
They came to Myrtle Beach in 2000, Gildemeister said. He became the tennis director for the Dunes Tennis Club in Grande Dunes and his wife became a head tennis pro. Twenty years later, Katrina is now the tennis director and Marissa is a head pro.
Katrina Gildemeister-Barnes and Marissa Gildemeister-Chapin are currently ranked #1 in the 30s doubles division in women’s tennis.
“We knew it was a big deal. One of the biggest things when you win one of those big national level one tournaments is you get gold balls. And that’s kind of a prestigious thing. So, we’ve always wanted to win the gold balls. We’ve played with our parents, too. My mother and I won the super senior mother-daughter a couple years ago. We both were finalists with my dad. She did it ten years ago when he was 60. Got second place and him and I also got second place with him at Palm Beach Gardens.” the sisters said.
Marissa and Katrina have been playing together and against each other since they were kids. Marissa is two years older, but they said they won championships in high school and went on to play together at N.C. State.
Both eventually moved to Myrtle Beach from North Carolina to be part of the family at the Dunes Tennis Club. Their brother is also a pro at Grande Dunes Tennis Club.
“Katrina is phenomenal up at the net. She doesn’t miss many volleys, she usually puts it away. She’s pretty aggressive and she coaches me throughout the match. Helps me stay positive when we’re playing so she helps me a lot,” Marissa said of her partner.
“Like she said, I like the net a lot so her good groundstrokes set me up. That’s why we’re such a good team. And you know she pretty much runs down every ball that I miss,” Katrina echoed.
Katrina and Marissa said due to COVID-19, United States Tennis Association tournaments have been canceled. They’re looking forward to the matches beginning again.