COHEN, NATALIE (1912– ), leading tennis player in the Southern United States and certified official of men's and women's tennis matches. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Dewald A. and Meta Leinkauf Cohen, she began playing competitive tennis at age eight and continued tournament play until age 81, earning the sobriquet, "Atlanta's First Lady of Tennis." At the University of California, Berkeley, where she earned a B.A. in political science, Cohen was president of the Women's Athletic Association in 1934. Cohen won numerous titles in Atlanta, Georgia, and Southern Tennis Association championships. In 1954, at age 42, she won the Georgia state singles title and the Atlanta city and state doubles titles. She competed in doubles in the 1955 National Clay Court Tennis Championship in Atlanta, reaching the quarterfinal round.
Cohen officiated for over 50 years as a United States Tennis Association stadium umpire and referee. Overcoming entrenched gender boundaries, Cohen became the first woman to serve as a chair umpire for a men's National Collegiate Athletic Association championship, and she was the first Southern woman to serve as a chair umpire at the Forest Hills Tennis Championships, the annual U.S. tennis championship. During her career she was chair of umpires for the Southern and Georgia Tennis Associations. Cohen received the Marlborough Award from World Tennis (founded by
) in 1962 and was selected Umpire of the Year by both the Southern and Georgia Tennis Associations. She was inducted in the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame and the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame for her distinguished career in tennis.
G. Asher, "How She Played the Game," in: Georgia Trend, 19 (Jan. 2004), 114; J. Cook (ed.), "Cohen, Natalie," in Who's Who in Tennis (1983), 145; B.H. Weiner, "Cohen, Natalie," in: P.E. Hyman and D. Dash Moore (eds.), Jewish Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, 1 (1997), 247–48.
[Linda J. Borish (2nd ed.)]
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