Joyce Davenport inducted into U.S. Squash Hall of Fame

Article courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer

by Marc Narducci

Joyce Davenport, two-time women's singles champion, at her induction into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff)

Joyce Davenport, two-time women’s singles champion, at her induction into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame. (STEVEN M. FALK / Staff)

Joyce Davenport has enjoyed squash so much that she continues to compete in tournaments at the age of 70.

Davenport, winner of two national singles championships, was honored on Monday when she was inducted into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame at the U.S. Open Squash Championships that are taking place at Drexel through Friday.

Bob Callahan, a legendary coach at Princeton, will be inducted to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday after the 6 p.m.  match. Raised in Bala Cynwyd, he learned squash at the Cynwyd Club, right across from his home, and played for Episcopal Academy.

Davenport, a graduate of Lower Merion High School, is a part-time teacher at the Berwyn Squash & Fitness Club when she isn’t competing.

“I am probably a poster child for somebody who has enjoyed squash as a lifetime sport,” said Davenport, who began taking lessons when she was about 13. “It’s a great sport.”

And she has been a great performer.

An all-around athlete, Davenport is a talented tennis player who competed in 1969 at Wimbledon and at the U.S. Open.

As for squash, she has won more than 40 national age-group titles in singles and doubles. Included was the 1992 women’s 50-plus softball singles world championship in Vancouver.

Davenport was discovered by the late Norm Bramall, a legendary coach at the Cynwyd Club. He saw her competing at a junior high tennis tournament and predicted she could become an excellent squash player.

“Even though I told him I would play, I didn’t know how to play squash,” Davenport said. “I had to look it up in the encyclopedia.”

Davenport was a quick learner. After earning nine varsity letters, in field hockey, basketball, and tennis at Lower Merion, she attended Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. And while she didn’t participate in college sports, she did play in squash tournaments.

After college, and even while attending graduate school at Penn and law school at Villanova, Davenport continued to compete in squash.

Among her accomplishments on the court were winning national singles titles in 1965 and 1969. She has competed in tournaments in England and Australia and has seen the world while playing squash.

It has also been a great way to stay fit.

“It’s a good way to get exercise in a fairly short period of time,” she said. “I like the fact that you can use a combination of athletic ability and tactics.”

U.S. Open. The U.S. Open Championships continue at Drexel with the men’s and women’s quarterfinals on Tuesday and Wednesday. The semifinals are Thursday, and the finals are Friday.