2020 PHOF Inductee

Hilary Hilton Marold

Competitor

Hilary Hilton Marold

CITIZENSHIP: USA

BORN: April 26, 1950 in Santa Monica, California

HOME TOWN: Pacific Palisades, California

PLAYS: Right-handed

EDUCATION:

  • Marlborough School, Los Angeles, California
  • Drama, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

MAJOR CONTRIBUTIONS:

Since Hilary started playing pickleball in 2009, she has taught and spread love of the game in many countries: Mexico, Costa Rica, Japan, England, France, Spain, Canada, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos. The only permanent pickleball court in Corpus Christi, Texas, where she currently lives, was donated by Hilary and her husband, Charlie. She was a founding board member of John A. Gullo’s Professional Pickleball Federation (PPF) in 2015/2016. The PPF was the template and precursor to what we know today as the various Pickleball Pro Tours. She is on the Pickleball Hall of Fame Nominating Committee and a contributing member of the World Pickleball Federation (WPF), trying to spread the game of pickleball worldwide.

PERSONAL LIFE:

  • Hilary has been married to her husband, Charlie, since 1979.
  • They have had three children: Chad, Burke, and Morgan (deceased).
  • They lived in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, for 26 years and now live in Corpus Christi, Texas, where they have been for 16 years.
  • They have three grandchildren: Harrison (5), Emma (4), Monroe (2), and, at the time of this posting, another on the way.

Background

Hilary first picked up a tennis paddle at four years old to hit balls with her father at The Beach Club on the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, California. She competed in her first tennis tournament at nine years old, always encouraged and supported by her mother. That was the start of her love of all racquet/paddle sports. Hilary Hilton Marold is referred to as “The Queen of the Racquets.” She is the only female athlete to hold many national titles in 4 different racquet/paddle sports:

1.) 1965 – 1973 Paddle Tennis (Pop Tennis)

  • 17 National Championships
  • Hall of Fame Inductee, 2012

2.) 1974 – 1982 Platform Tennis

  • 11 National Championships
  • Hall of Fame Inductee, 1998

3.) 2009 – Present Pickleball

  • 22 National Championships
  • Hall of Fame Inductee, 2020

4.) 1972 – Present Tennis

  • 19 USTA “Balls” (8 Gold, 8 Silver, 3 Bronze)
  • 6 National Public Parks Championships

In 1973, only one month after Bobby Riggs defeated Margaret Court in tennis and only a few months prior to his famous “Battle of the Sexes” match with Billie Jean King, Bobby lost to Hilary in paddle tennis singles after he challenged her. The results hit the 2nd page of the LA Times Sports Section with the caption, “Willowy Hilary Takes Riggs to the Cleaners 8-3.”

In fact, Billie Jean King selected Hilary to be on the cover of her WomenSports magazine with the caption, “Hilary Hilton, the OTHER woman in Bobby Riggs’ life.” She is now honored to be included in the Bobby Riggs Museum in Encinitas, California, thanks to the great pickleball players Steve and Jennifer Dawson, who own the museum and are the curators.

Hilary has worked in the television and media fields. She has been a national television and radio broadcaster:

  • 1976: Competed as an athlete on ABC’s The Women’s Superstars, alongside Martina Navratilova, Amy Alcott, Diana Nyad, Ann Henning, Althea Gibson, and others.
  • 1977: Broadcaster alongside Al Michaels for ABC-TV Women’s Superstars.
  • 1978: Broadcaster for NBC-TV The Wimbledon Championships, alongside Bud Collins and John Newcombe
  • 1978: Competed as the only female athlete on CBS-TV World Racquets Championships against Guillermo Vilas, Marty Hogan, Sharif Khan, Rudy Hartono, and Dan Seemiller.
  • 1978: Appeared as a guest on the David Letterman Show, NBC-TV.

Hilary has also written an article for Tennis magazine on mixed doubles strategy and has been featured in – Sports Illustrated, People, UsWeekly, Paddle World, and Racquet magazines, to name a few.

Gold medal in Women’s Singles at the 2009 USAPA National Tournament

Hilary at 71 playing pickleball at the Corpus Christi Pickleball Club. 

Hilary at USAPA National Championships

Hilary with her husband, Charlie

Bobby Riggs signing “I beat Margaret Court but not Hilary. I’d like to try again!” Bobby Riggs
‘Queen of the rackets’: Racket-sports legend Hilary Marold

COMPETITION AND AWARDS RECOGNITION:

Hilary started playing pickleball in 2009 at the USAPA National Tournament (now known as the USAP National Championships). Before the tournament, she had never played pickleball and purchased a pickleball paddle just days before the tournament. That year, she earned the gold in Women’s Singles in the 55+ age group as well as two silver medals in two different Women’s Doubles events with Yvonne Hackenberg.

2010 – 2019 Huntsman World Senior Games

29 Gold Championships, which include:

  • 16 Women’s Doubles Championships with Yvonne Hackenberg
  • 9 Women’s Singles Championships
  • 4 Mixed Doubles (3 with Larry Moon, 1 with Pat Kane)

2014 – 2016 Tournament of Champions (TOC)

4 Gold, which includes:

  • 2014 Gold in Legends Open Mixed Doubles with Mike Stahl, Gold in Legends Open Women’s Doubles with Yvonne Hackenberg
  • 2015 Gold in Legends Open Women’s Singles (at age 65)
  • 2016 Gold in Legends Open Mixed Doubles with Scott Moore

2016 – 2019 Minto US Open Pickleball Championships

8 Gold US Open Championships, which includes:

  • 3 Women’s Doubles with Yvonne Hackenberg
  • 3 Women’s Singles
  • 2 Mixed Doubles (55+ with Brian Staub, 65+ with Greg Whitfield)

2016 Canadian Open Women’s Singles Championship

  • Silver (66 years old)

2017 Spanish Open Pickleball Championships in Madrid, Spain

  • Professional Pickleball Federation/Elite Open Women’s Doubles
  • Silver with Suzee Anderson

2017 Bainbridge Cup USA Team Member vs. Europe/Canada

2019 Vulcan U.S. National Indoor Pickleball Championships

  • 2 Golds: Women’s Singles 65+, Mixed Doubles 60+ with Joe Nguyen

 

Breakdown by year:

  • 2010: 2 Golds
  • 2011: 3 Golds
  • 2012: 3 Golds
  • 2013: 3 Golds
  • 2014: 2 Golds
  • 2015: 3 Golds
  • 2016: 2 Golds
  • 2017: 4 Golds
  • 2018: 4 Golds
  • 2019: 3 Golds

ADDITIONAL AWARDS:

  • 1989 – Buick Amateur Open Mixed Doubles Tennis Classic National Champion, Madison Square Garden, New York with Steve Issleib
  • 2010 – Earned #1 national ranking in USTA Husband/Wife Mixed Combo 120 (age) in tennis with Charlie Marold
  • 2011 – 2019 – Paddletek sponsored athlete. One of the original four female pickleball players to be chosen by Team Paddletek
  • 2014 – USTA Texas “Senior Spirit of Texas Tennis Award” given yearly to a female tennis competitor who “exemplifies sportsmanship, enthusiasm, conditioning as well as a high sectional ranking…”
  • 2018 – A dedicated pickleball court plaque in honor of Hilary’s paddle/racquet achievements in pickleball and her various other sports – placed on pickleball center court at the Corpus Christi Country Club
  • 2019 – John A. Gullo “Tournament of Champions” Award The “4 Gold Legend Championship Ring