PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Wayne’s Lisa Raymond has spent the last two decades as one of the best doubles players in tennis. While her playing career is still going strong, she’s getting a taste for the front office side of sports these days, serving as Director of Player Personnel for the Philadelphia Freedoms of World Team Tennis.
“Billie Jean King, who started World Team Tennis, who is the owner of the Philadelphia Freedoms, her and Barbara Perry, who is our general manager, they approached me with this opportunity,” Raymond tells KYW Newsradio. “I’ve always been involved with the Freedoms, living in the area, whether it was playing or supporting them. I mean I’ve played for the Freedoms for so many years in the past. This was just something to kind of take it to that next level. To get a little bit more involved, to see it kind of behind the scenes and to be more involved with drafting the team, with sponsorship, with the players. When they approached me and said would you like to be a part of it in this capacity, I jumped at it.”
And she says it was a great decision.
“It’s been a neat experience for me,” Raymond says. “To not just be always the player and on the court, but now behind the scenes and seeing what it is, the day-in and day-out, and what it takes to run these teams. And it’s not easy.”
Raymond had a hand in assembling a squad that has enjoyed a lot of success this season. The Freedoms sit at 8-5 with one regular-season match to play and they have already clinched a playoff berth.
As much work as assembling a team is, once the match starts, there’s only so much for a team executive to do. Raymond says it is an adjustment being a spectator.
“It’s a neat thing for me to be on this side,” Raymond says. “But yet at the same time, I’m a competitor at heart and I love being out there in the heat of the moment. So it can get tough to just sit back and watch.”
Raymond has 11 Grand Slam titles to her name. Six of them have come in women’s doubles and five in mixed doubles. While she is enjoying the feel of the front office, Raymond says she isn’t done getting out on the court herself.
“I’ve been very blessed to do something that I loved doing as a child and as a kid and throughout my life and to make a great living and career out of it,” Raymond says. “Truly blessed. Hope to keep going, maybe a little bit longer.”
The Freedoms host the Washington Kastles Wednesday night at Villanova’s Pavilion to wrap up the regular season. The two teams then play each other in the playoffs on Thursday on Washington’s home court.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.
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