Tammy Hollis Embry Serves Up The Looks

Tammy Hollis Embry sporty spice tennis looksWhat role does fashion play in sports?

I love wearing red when I have a big match. It’s bold, gives me confidence. If I show up in red, look out!

Whose on-court style inspires you?

I love Serena Williams. She isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what she wears on the court. Any sort of look you have, you have to be confident. I tend to show up with my hair in a functional braid, and I have a gold jacket I wear sometimes. At the end of the day, if I haven’t won, at least I look good.

Where do you find your best outfits?

Mostly at the Indianapolis Racquet Club, the largest pro shop in Indy.

What sparked your love of tennis?

I actually started in my 30s, in grad school at Butler, which had an adult tennis program at the time. I took some lessons and joined teams and caught the bug. Ever since, I’ve been playing in competitive tournaments and placed fourth and second, respectively, at the United States Tennis Association Nationals in Las Vegas in 2007 and in Arizona in 2012. In all of these competitive leagues, you win state, then compete regionally, then at sectionals, then at nationals. I’ve also been on the Central Indiana USTA board since then and been captain of many local teams.

Is there an item in your tennis bag you couldn’t live without (besides, you know, the obvious basics)?

On a tennis racket, there’s something called an overgrip. Your hands get sweaty, and the overgrip’s like a fresh, new racket. Before any big match, I have to have a brand new overgrip. The ones in my bag are funky: leopard print, zebra print, bright colors.

For us amateurs, how accurate are tennis movies like King Richard?

I watched King Richard twice, and the tennis was really well done. When you’re a player yourself, you can get distracted at how poorly they’re playing sometimes. That episode in the Sex and the City reboot where Charlotte’s playing—I kept thinking how terrible it was.

Finish this sentence: When I’m not playing tennis, I’m …

Playing golf … or pickleball.

You’re quite the athlete! Tell me more about pickleball. It seems to be all the rage recently.

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. right now. Rick Witsken brought pickleball to Indianapolis when the Pearson Tennis Center was just getting ready to open. I taught my parents and brother to play pickleball, and now we play together. My dad, who’s 76, plays every day with his friends, and my brother, who used to be my tennis doubles partner, also runs a pickleball association. It’s definitely a family sport for us.

Favorite local courts to play?

My home tennis court is the Indianapolis Racquet Club, but I play everywhere. You play at all the clubs when you’re on a team. For pickleball, it’s the Fishers YMCA with my dad. For golf, it’s Ironwood [Golf Club in Fishers] with my league.

Best sports-related memory?

My two trips to USTA Nationals. You get really close to a group of women, travel with them. You have a lot of those kinds of memories when you’re a kid, but to have those memories as an adult is really special. And now I’m teaching my son to play tennis. He’s 15. He has seen me play for so long and comes to my matches. He plays pickleball now with me, too. If I could only get him to play golf, it would be the trifecta.

Any advice for someone looking to up their tennis game?

It doesn’t just come down to physical ability. It’s a mental game as well. It’s really more of a chess match.