"It's a sad day as my former coach of six years, Dennis Ralston, has passed away. A deeply religious man, a devoted family man, and a superb player and coach. He will be missed. RIP Dennis," Chris Evert tweeted. A truly inspiring person, Dennis Ralston died on Sunday, December 6th at the age of 78 from brain cancer in Austin, Texas.
He was an unusual figure in American tennis. Recognized for his willingness and enthusiasm, he won 41 titles throughout his career and retired in 1977.
Dennis Ralston: An icon par excellence
As a professional player, Ralston was a five-time Grand Slam doubles champion and one of the first players to sign up for the Professional World Championship Tennis Tour in the 1960s.
Additionally, Ralston was a member of the sport's Hall of Fame, and the 'Handsome Eight' Ralston was listed in the World Top 10 in singles five times between 1963 and 1968. Besides being a player, he was a captain, coach, teacher, and friend.
Dennis Ralston trained a few of the top players for decades. Among them were 18 times Grand slam champion Chris Evert, and others such as Roscoe Tanner, Yannick Noah and Gabriela Sabatini. Dennis Ralston coached Chris Evert for six years.
In the early years when she was wavering against her rival Martina Navratilova, she asked Ralston to be her trainer. Dennis immediately came up with some creative new striking tactics. Evert, who also spoke with Inside Tennis, also said, "Dennis was devoted to his faith, his family, and his tennis… He had a passion and a fierce commitment to all three.
He was very wise about life, as he didn't always have an easy path, and very knowledgeable about tennis; particularly in coaching, where he had sharp instincts and a good eye for every aspect of the game. What struck me the most was his love and loyalty to his wife Linda and his children.
I often stayed in his home in Dallas while training and they treated me like family. I saw the respect, love, and commitment they had as a family. I will miss him!" In a nutshell, we have lost a humble and energetic legend.
Dennis Ralston was said to be a person of integrity. He loved playing the sport and sharing his significant wisdom with the players. He will always be remembered.