It Wasn’t About the Photo!


Karen and Sherri of the Devlin Dolls (Photo by Darren LoPrinzi)


Marty with Ruthie (Photo by Darren LoPrinzi)

Since assisting Marty with his Memoir, I have found more reasons to be amazed by him and the impact he has had on so many people. In the last newsletter, Ol’ Buddy talked about how much he enjoys the simple pleasures of life. You might think that getting a group of his students together for a photo (to be used in his upcoming book) would be another simple pleasure. However, it turned out to be a deeper experience than even that. And a reminder to Marty and to those who know him of how beloved he is.

Once the date and time for the photo shoot were established, Maureen Myers, who brilliantly organizes everyone for Marty’s daily drills, sent out the word to his 200 students. About 40 responded that they were available, and, on short notice, they showed up with gusto, enthusiasm, love, and stories.

Marty wrote afterwards in a thank-you email, “I saw friends who I couldn’t believe remembered me, friends I hadn’t seen in 20 to 30 years and my beautiful current friends. There were so many cars in the street my neighbors thought it was my funeral.”

The icing on the cake for Marty was seeing 92-year-old Ruthie, his oldest student. As Marty tells it, “She gave up her regular Mahjong game only to walk down and up my steep driveway to be with me.”

Some talked about how Marty, the Swampfox, and the court, the Swamp, have been their escape and how much they love his drills.

Then there were Karen and Sherri of the “Devlin Dolls.” Back in 1996, Marty coached their 2.5 beginner USTA League team, and the team wore the shirt emblazoned with that name, and they wore the same shirt to the photo shoot. Karen and Sherri also wore these shirts to cheer Marty on when he played tournaments, including a national grass court tournament at the historic Orange Lawn Tennis Club in New Jersey.

Karen and Sherri have continued to drill with Marty off and on through the years; and again in 2019 to get ready for the 3.5 USTA League national championship, which they had qualified for and was being held in Arizona. Representing the Middle States section, the team won it all and became the 3.5 national champions. “A bucket list moment,” recalls Karen.

“I’m not a hard hitter,” said Karen, “so he [Marty] taught me all the junk shots. People would watch me play and ask if I drilled with Marty Devlin.”

Marty was delighted to see some of the “Devlin Dolls” at the photo shoot – and everyone else who was able to come.

Ol’ Buddy could not have dreamed up a better use of “the Swamp.” It was built with blood, sweat, and tears in 1987, and hundreds of players have gathered there to play, to learn to play, or take his famous drills. So many stories and memories have been built there, and the Swamp is still going strong, making new stories and memories.

By Ann LoPrinzi


  1. Annie Simonds Clifford

    I love the comment, “Marty taught me all the junk shots!” I would love to watch him coach
    Sometime. I can’t play anymore because I have knees with bone on bone. They don’t hurt but would with tennis . But I played my whole life and loved the sport!!

    Obviously a remarkable man! And I went to boarding school with Mary Ellen who was a beautiful athlete!! So he has one special wife!!!
    Annie Clifford!


    Good write-up. I absolutely love this site. Stick with it!

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