DeLone Plans to Go Pro

First-Year Tennis Star Will Leave College

Erika R. deLone '95, the sixth ranked college tennis player in the country, said this week she plans to leave the College to pursue a professional tennis career.

DeLone, the top singles player on the women's tennis team this year, spent a full year on the professional circuit before enrolling in Harvard. However, she refused payment--and maintained her amateur status--in order to compete for the Crimson.

"I have decided to do this because it has been really difficult to try to juggle college tennis, professional tennis and academics," deLone said.

DeLone informed her teammates and coaches of her decision during a Monday meeting just before the team selected captains for next year.

Few expected deLone to remain in school--and out of the pros--for the four years it takes to earn a degree. But her decision to leave after just one year caught many off-guard.


"Last year, I knew that she might only stay one year," said current Co-captain Melinda Wang '93, "but throughout this year the general consensus was that she was going to stay at least two years."

"I knew this was something on her mind," said Harvard coach Gordon C. Graham. "I thought she was going to give it more than a year."

Anne deLone, Erika's mother, said she supportedher daughter's decision

"We're really sad she's leaving Harvard, but Ithink it was the only thing she could do in theend," she said.

Drop in Ranking Key

In the year depone played the professionalcircuit full-time her world ranking climbed ashigh as 95. DeLone has dropped to 161th sincecoming to Harvard.

DeLone said that the drop in prorankingaffected her decision.

"It's difficult to compete against people onthe pro circuit when they train five hours a dayand you only play for two," deLone said.

DeLone had planned on playing in professionaltournaments while at Harvard, but the pro tourbecame a low priority in her intense Harvard life.

"She was hoping to play a couple [professional]tournaments a quarter. In the end, she only playedtwo all year," her mother said.

In fact, deLone is unique for even enrolling incollege during her prime, her mother said.