GONZALES — Ascension Tennis Association co-founder Gloria Berthelot may be stepping down as president of the local tennis group, but she’s not walking away from the sport that she loves. Berthelot, who has been president of the ATA since its inception 11 years ago, recently turned the job over to longtime member Meleé Gautreau. Ironically, it was Gautreau who nominated Berthelot to be president during a meeting that Berthelot didn’t attend. During Berthelot’s tenure, the group has grown to offer 10 different tennis programs for adults, juniors and children. With a membership of 200 adults, the club offers several tennis opportunities to a growing population, Berthelot said. Gautreau, a teacher, has been playing tennis for 38 years. Her love of the game started when she was 12 years old during a middle school physical education class. “Soon, it became my sport for life,” Gautreau said. In high school, she gave up the other sports she was playing to concentrate on tennis. She received a scholarship to play tennis at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and went on to work as a tennis pro. She describes tennis as a “game for life.” Gautreau said she met her husband through tennis and also found employment thanks to her tennis connections. “It’s our pastime. It’s our hobby,” she said, adding that she and her husband’s vacations are usually “tennis centered.” “You’re never too old to take it up and it can be great for folks at any age,” Gautreau said. Berthelot, 76, echoed that as she explained her recent experience at the Senior Olympics tennis competition in Houston. After winning her age division in the state, Berthelot went on to compete at the national event. She said there was one 100-year-old competing and several “who could really play” in her age group. The ATA holds tennis clinics and tournaments at its home court at the Gonzales Municipal Park on Meylan Drive. Gautreau said she’s not letting Berthelot “get very far.” “She’s my official consultant,” Gautreau said. Gautreau credited Berthelot with not only growing the club, but providing quality tennis experiences for its members. The ATA takes part in the United States Tennis Association’s Quickstart program for children ages 5 to 10. Gautreau said she plans to continue Berthelot’s work to “offer tennis to as many people as we can.” On the Internet: http://www.ascensiontennis.com