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Ex-mayor still paired with tennis

Sandy Freedman doesn't play anymore, but the former Plant High champion voted for the tennis center that carries her name.

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 13, 2002

She recalls getting booed in the grocery store for voting in favor of creation of a tennis center. But former Mayor Sandy Freedman knows a good tennis complex when she sees one, and calls her namesake a "first-class facility" and superior to the one it replaced.

She grew up playing at the facility's predecessor, the city-run Davis Islands Tennis Courts. She went on to become a champion junior and collegiate player for Plant High and the University of Miami.

Freedman served 12 years on the Tampa City Council before becoming Tampa's first female mayor in 1986. Toward the end of her council run, she voted in favor of demolishing the old Davis Islands courts to make room for a Tampa General Hospital expansion. Even though the move led to the new and improved tennis complex two blocks south in Marjory Park, it earned Freedman a round of boos once while shopping at the Davis Island Super Market.

Nonetheless, Freedman was elected to two consecutive mayoral terms. She stepped down in 1995. Now 58, Freedman remains active with the Democratic Party. She has volunteered for Bill McBride's gubernatorial campaign, and serves on the board for the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Freedman also cooks a lot and visits her five grandchildren. But no more tennis. Her elbow has torn ligaments. She recently decided to give her rackets away rather than have surgery.

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