In Spain, Lines Will Be Under Her Eyes

Annapolitan Will Be Line Judge For Olympic Tennis Matches

January 30, 1992|By John Harris III | John Harris III,Staff writer

Marylynn Baker has stood on the same tennis court with legends such as Boris Becker, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, so what could possibly top that?

How about a trip to this year's summer Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain, beginning July 25?

Baker didn't earn her spot by acing the game's best pros. Instead, the 45-year-old Annapolis resident and mother of two has made the most of her highly trained eyes as a lineswoman and umpire.

"I found out about a week and a half ago," said Baker. "When I received word, I was just beside myself. I just couldn't believe it."

Like mosttouring pros, Baker made her way to the top of her trade by startingfrom the ground up, serving as lineswoman for local and national junior tournaments and working her way to such tournaments as the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

"I got lots of experience in a hurry when I first started out," said Baker. "I got my start in the New York area, and the first tournament I ever called was the Easter Bowl Junior Tournament. We were a little short-staffed there, so not only did I have to attend to administrative duties, but I also wound up helping call the lines."

In addition to the two most notable Grand Slam tournaments, Baker, a member of the Association of Maryland Tennis Officials,has been a regular on the Virginia Slims Women's professional tour. She also had been invited to call this month's Australian Open, but declined the trip to Melbourne because of time constraints.

"The only (Grand Slam) event I probably won't do is the French Open. I don'tknow how to speak French," said a laughing Baker.

En route to reaching the pinnacle in her field, Baker has enjoyed officiating at alllevels of play -- from top professional tournaments to the local junior circuits.

"I remember working an 8-and-under junior girls match just after being on the same court with Becker. I had made a call and the little girl looked up at me and said, 'Hey lady, do you know what you're doing?' I thought that was the funniest thing. If that little girl only knew where I had been a few days before," she said.

Baker will be one of 10 Americans on the 125-person staff in Barcelona, where she will stay with the athletes in the Olympic Village.

"This is going to be wonderful," she said. "Just being among all of the camaraderie and goodwill will be an unbelievable experience."

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