Tennis Industry magazine

 

Our Serve: Righting an Industry Wrong

By Peter Francesconi

It was exactly nine years ago when I wrote about this topic in this column — and I can’t believe nothing has happened in that time to right this wrong.

Plain and simple: Dennis Van der Meer should be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Shame on the ITHOF — and all of us — for not fixing this years ago and recognizing the incredible impact this amazing man has had on this game — not just in the U.S., but throughout the world.

Dennis has taught more people to play — and to teach — tennis than anyone in the history of this sport. He has been a coach, innovator, advocate and tireless promoter of tennis for decades. While he has personally taught thousands to play this game, by teaching the teachers he’s had a direct hand in getting millions of recreational players on the court.

Now, in this 40th year of the Professional Tennis Registry, the organization he founded, it’s time to fix this. While the HoF inductees for this year are settled, we all can help make this a reality for next year.

Go to tennisfame.com, click on “Hall of Famers” and nominate Dennis Van der Meer as a “Contributor.” And hurry — deadline for the 2017 induction class is April 1, 2016. (Just look at that description for “Contributor” — “exceptional contributions that have furthered the growth, reputation, and character of the sport …” — it was practically written with Dennis in mind.)

And beyond that, flood the Hall of Fame and any other influential tennis people you know with emails supporting Dennis for this honor.

This injustice in the tennis world was again brought to light by none other than Billie Jean King, who spoke at the PTR Symposium in February when she was inducted into the PTR Hall of Fame. BJK told the sold-out awards banquet crowd that we need to get a petition going to get Dennis into the International Tennis Hall of Fame — and that’s what PTR CEO Dan Santorum started right then and there. Visit ptrtennis.org to find out more and to lend your support.

Dennis was the first inductee into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame in 2008. He’s been inducted into both the USPTA Hall of Fame (2015) and the PTR Hall of Fame (2013). He’s also in the USTA Northern California and the USTA Southern section halls of fame. In 1972, the U.S. State Department cited him for Exceptional Coaching Performance in the Middle East, and in 1989, he received the Healthy American Fitness Award. He was named Developmental Coach of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1997.

Dennis has been honored by so many groups, organizations and governments that it makes no sense to me he’s not yet enshrined in Newport. This is something that everyone in this industry can rally behind. Let’s fix this now.

Peter Francesconi, Editorial Director
peter@tennisindustrymag.com

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.

 

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