Softball was Queen Hargrove's best sport until a bet by a friend that she couldn't hit a tennis ball. She may have lost the bet, but tennis was the big winner that day. Queen dedicated herself to mastering the game of tennis after that. Years later, and you can still find Queen on the courts having fun with a goal to not just hit the ball, but demolish it.
As Queen’s interest in tennis grew, so did her desire to get more involved in the growth of tennis in Raleigh. Her focus became helping the youth on the Southside of Raleigh, more specifically at the Ebony Racquet Club (“Club”), where the funding was limited yet there were accomplished, skilled, and capable youth. Her passion was to showcase those kids and to help develop their future progress.
“Queen is the backbone and role model for the Club, which continues to provide a safe haven for all kids of color and in the Raleigh tennis community,” says Bernice Kelly, local area player and USTA League captain, about Queen.
Billy Battle, a former Club president and mentor to Queen, introduced her to the operational details and functions of the Club. “He was always there, guiding all that would listen to the knowledge that he was so willing to share and promote for the good of the Club,” says Queen about Billy.
Regarding her own children, Queen says that she has found that it was much easier to work, be a wife, and mother if she taught her kids to play tennis, instead of softball or baseball. Her children easily incorporated their mother’s passion for tennis into their own game and then took that passion to another level, “as if they were the William sisters.” Queen attributes her kid’s success on the court to both John Smith and Cy King, they were instrumental in her children’s tennis etiquette and correct developmental skills.
Queen is quick to point out that tennis did not completely change her life, “I am who I have always been. Rather quaint and quiet. Enjoying the quality of what life has to offer me.” However, she does most certainly feel that tennis has enhanced her life through “the most wonderful, diverse, and divine group of people that one could meet.” Queen never knew when she met an opponent if she would win or lose, but she always felt it would be a cordial joint effort. “I do know that win or lose, I’m going to have a great time. I can always know that I can just hang out and have a fun-filled time with someone just for some bragging rights.”
"QueenE exemplifies what tennis really is: a fun mix of competition, skill, smarts, sportsmanship, and humor. And a whole lot of love. Every person who steps on the court with her is happier when they see her...some not as happy after she beats them. But even the defeated are glad to be on a court with her. Because her positive spirit fills a court!!! Whether you are a partner or an opponent!!!,” says Coach Nancy King, a teaching professional at Millbrook Tennis Center and avid tennis player.
So what does Queen love the most about tennis?
“The amazing positive players. Some can always offer you great advice on where to eat, a place to visit, a must-watch movie. You can compare notes. A tennis court can be a place to heal an aching heart, and a fallen teardrop, competition, the exhilaration of rivalry. Most of all it is the cheerful laughter of the smile with a handshake and the promise of the next time.”
Well said, Queen!
Queen in action on the courts!