Paddi Valentine

Paddi Valentine’s legacy as part of Richmond tennis history spans decades and roles—as an event organizer, writer, and advocate for raising the sport’s profile and impact in Richmond.

The sold-out Borg vs Connors exhibition match at the Richmond Coliseum in 1982 is a memorable part of Richmond tennis history that was strongly influenced by Paddi’s community connection and drive. Paddi was president of a sports marketing company, World Class, Inc., that she started with Richard Peyton and Irv Cantor in the mid-1980’s which put on tennis exhibitions across the U.S. for Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and other tennis professionals.

Paddi always had something brewing to advance the game. As an example, she secured an impressive $100,000 grant for the revitalization of Byrd Park’s tennis facility through the Tennis Foundation of Richmond that she had also established.

Paddi presided over the Junior Suburban League and led the Thalhimer City Tournament for four years, with over 250 adult and juniors participating each year. She served as president of Richmond Tennis Association and was the Director of RTA’s Winter Development Program for eight years. It was a booming time for tennis in Richmond and Paddi’s high energy was a part of its growth and success.

Paddi served on the USTA Mid-Atlantic Board where she published its annual yearbook, and for nine years wrote articles for the Mid-Atlantic section portion of the USTA magazine. She was a part of USTA committees for 25 years, including serving as Chair of the Evaluation Committee. Beyond the USTA, Paddi played a key role in leading the Virginia Tennis Association as a Vice President.

Paddi’s involvement with Richmond tennis largely began alongside her three sons who grew into strong, competitive players. As part of her life journey, she married Hugh Waters (Richmond Hall of Fame ’09) and now joins him with her entry. She and the wider Waters family received the Ralph W Wescott Award as USTA Family of the Year in 1992.