Endowed with an innate sense of fairness and an encyclopedic knowledge of tennis, Flo Blanchard (b.1920) blazed a trail for women umpires. She was a tennis novice when she married umpire Mike Blanchard in 1950 but learned the game quickly, officiating at her first match that same year.
Going on to a distinguished four-decade career as an umpire, Blanchard also achieved sucess as a top-ranked senior player.
From the U.S. Nationals to the NCAA to the Olympics, Blanchard skillfully negotiated even the most heated matches, often as the only women official in the stadium. Fittingly, in 1975, Blanchard became the first woman to win the USTA John T. McGovern Umpires’ Award.
Among many honors, she and her husband received the ATP’s coveted Court Official of the Year Award in 1976, and were inducted into the Southwest Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 1994.
- Second woman to umpire at U.S. championship finals 1953; seven-time finals match umpire
Bermuda Singles Champion 1957
Mary Chess Award for Umpire of the Year 1958
Ranked in Top 10 of U.S. senior players 1960
Ladies’ Home Journal Award for Distinguished Contribution to Women’s Tennis 1971
Umpire for Women’s National Collegiate Championships 1971-1985
Referee for NCAA National Women’s Collegiate Tournament 1982-1983
Women’s Professional Tour Umpire (USTA/Virginia Slims) 1973-1978
First woman to receive USTA John T. McGovern Umpires’ Award 1975
First woman to umpire U.S. Wightman Cup competition 1975
First woman to co-chair USTA Umpires Committee 1975-1976
Co-recipient (with husband Mike Blanchard) of the JAX Award for Court Official of the Year, given by the Association of Tennis Pros (ATP) 1975-1976 season
Winner of the USTA Service Bowl 1983
Selected by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) as one of two American umpires at the Los Angeles Olympics 1984
Referee for USTA Satellite Circuit 1985-1991
Honorary Member, International Lawn Tennis Club of the United States 1986
Inducted into the SWTA Hall of Fame 1994