tennis balls in blue background

Lori Riffice



Children: Jake, 26; Mitch, 22; Sam, 19

Photo of Lori Riffice and family
white background

What makes tennis a special part of your life?

Tennis got me hooked the first time I played it. I grew up playing various sports – basketball, softball and volleyball. I started tennis at about 10 years old and loved it from the beginning. I played tennis in college at UC Santa Barbara, and that's where I met my husband – on the tennis court. We have had many years of fun playing tennis together, with friends and with our family. It is a great way to have a workout, enjoy the outside and be able to travel and enjoy destinations playing tennis.


I began teaching professionally right after college. When I realized I wasn't at the level of the top professionals, I did the next best thing – started coaching. I found that I could spend hours on the court with other people, helping them learn the game. I never felt time was going too slow or hated going to work. In fact, I often could work during especially hot weather, cold weather and illnesses. It never seemed like work, and it for sure is not like work now.


How did your children start playing tennis?

Since I was a coach during my three son's youths, they all learned how to play tennis. I never made them learn; it is just where their mom and dad were – on the tennis court. They all had different degrees of desire with the sport at different times of their lives. My first son eventually pursued baseball in college, my second son pursued basketball, and my third son stuck with tennis. My goal while they were growing up was to never say no to their request to go play tennis. I can honestly say I think I actually never did say no.


What is your most memorable tennis moment?

I think my most memorable moment playing tennis is every time I get to step on the court with my kids. It really brings a lot of joy to me to be able to play tennis with them. Although one of them only plays with me on Mother's Day and my birthday, the other two still want to play more often. I enjoy just the time I get to spend with them on the court, having fun and getting a good workout. As any parent would, just sharing a part of their life is rewarding, whether it is playing tennis or chess.  


What has tennis taught you about yourself?

Tennis is a very humbling sport. It challenges me every time I step on the court. Having played competitive tennis while I was younger, often times I still struggle with expectations and diminished ability and movement. However, watching my younger son train, compete and be challenged every day to be better is inspiring to me. It pushes me to try harder, compete and be challenged. I am very thankful for the life tennis has provided for me. It started in childhood, continued in college, led me to my husband of 30 years, and has provided me opportunities in life I would have never considered. It wasn't my first career choice. But as I mentioned, I was hooked from the start.

yellow background