International Tennis Hall of Fame: Five Who Moved This Sport Forward
On July 12, the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., inducted five people: Jane Brown Grimes, John Barrett, Nick Bollettieri, Chantal Vandierendonck and Lindsay Davenport. Before the on-court ceremony, ITHOF Chairman Christopher Clouser introduced the inductees to media and other guests. Here are excerpts of his succinct descriptions of the Class of 2014’s accomplishments:
“This year’s Hall of Fame class honors two of the greatest champions of our sport and three individuals who have dedicated their lives and careers to building tennis.
“Jane Brown Grimes has selflessly dedicated her life to the growth of tennis around the world, having held executive roles leading three major organizations — the Women’s Tennis Association, the USTA, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. She has also actively served on several committees for the ITF.
“Jane served as both Executive Director and President and CEO of the ITHOF, during which time she helped to grow the organization significantly…. In 1986, Jane was appointed Managing Director of the Women’s Professional Tennis Council, now known as the WTA…. In 2007 and 2008, Jane served as Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA…. A global leader in tennis, Jane is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in International Relations at Cambridge, where her thesis is about the role tennis can play in global relations.
“John Barrett of England has been elected for his many contributions to the sport. … For nearly 40 years, John worked for Slazenger, where he served in a variety of capacities, ranging from working with tournaments and players to designing racquets….
“John’s most notable work in tennis has come in the form of writing and reporting. From 1963 to 2007, he was the tennis correspondent for the Financial Times in London; between 1969 and 2001, he was editor of World of Tennis, the sport’s definitive yearbook. He has published numerous books on tennis. John was the indisputable “Voice of Wimbledon,” announcing for the BBC from 1971 to 2006.
“Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri has coached 10 world No. 1 players including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Boris Becker. He has also worked with the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, Tommy Haas and many more. At 82-years-old, Nick is still active on the tennis courts for more than 10 hours a day, six days a week.
“In 1978, he forever changed the tennis coaching industry when he founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, the first full-time tennis boarding school that integrated intense athletic training with academic curriculum. In addition, Nick has always been active in efforts to engage children with tennis to show them that discipline and hard work can provide opportunities through the sport.
“It is a pleasure to welcome the first female wheelchair tennis player to the Hall of Fame, Chantal Vandierendonck. A talented national player as a junior, Chantal got involved with wheelchair tennis as a teenager, following a car accident. She [inspired] a long list of successful wheelchair tennis players to come out of her home country of the Netherlands. Chantal was crowned the first ITF World Champion in 1991, a title she also clinched in 1996 and 1997. She won the women’s singles gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Games … then went on to win four more medals at the 1992 and 1996 Games. In addition, Chantal won seven singles titles at the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. She was the world No. 1 player for a total of 136 weeks in singles.
“Lindsay Davenport, a longtime resident of Laguna Beach, Calif., held the world No. 1 ranking for 98 weeks, and she finished the year at No. 1 four times. She was also the No. 1-ranked doubles player, and is one of just six players to have held both top spots simultaneously. Lindsay … won the 1998 US Open, 1999 Wimbledon, and 2000 Australian Open, as well as three major doubles titles. … In all, she won an impressive 55 singles titles and 38 doubles titles.
“Lindsay won the Olympic Gold Medal at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, and she was also a dedicated Fed Cup player. She compiled an extraordinary record of 33-3 in Fed Cup competition for the U.S. and was a member of three championship teams.”
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