Tennis Industry magazine

 

Hall of Fame: Honoring Gene Scott & Eve Kraft

An influential tennis journalist and community tennis innovator are this year’s inductees into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame.

By Peter Francesconi

Tennis journalist and player Eugene L. Scott and community tennis pioneer Eve F. Kraft are the 2016 inductees into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame. Both will be inducted posthumously at a ceremony in New York during the TIA Tennis Forum in August.

Scott, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008 in the Contributor category, was the founder, publisher and editor of Tennis Week magazine, where his column, “Vantage Point,” was considered a must-read. He ranked as high as No. 4 in the U.S. as an amateur tennis player in 1963 and as high as world No. 11 in 1965. He also was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, where he was both teammate and roommate to the late Arthur Ashe. He later served as president of USTA Eastern Section, a board member for the International Tennis Hall of Fame and on the national board of directors for the USTA.

Annually, the International Tennis Hall of Fame gives the Eugene Scott Award to honor an individual “who embodies Scott’s commitment to communicating honestly and critically about the game, and who has had a significant impact on the tennis world.” Scott passed away in 2006.

Kraft, who died in 1999, was a visionary when it came to bringing tennis into local communities. “In the 1960s and ’70s, tennis was starting to come out of the country clubs and more into parks, thanks to group instruction,” said Anne Humes, former longtime USTA staffer and friend of Kraft’s. “Eve saw that, and what she was trying to do was emulate the Princeton tennis program [which Kraft helped to found in 1954] around the country — she wanted to help other communities establish service organizations for tennis with the idea that you could get quality group instruction and learn the game at affordable prices.”

The late Henry Talbert described Kraft as one of the few “lonely voices suggesting to the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association that group instruction in parks and playgrounds were the wave of the future, because there were so many people who fit that model than there would be people who would become champions.”

In 2001, the USTA renamed its annual Community Service Award in honor of Kraft; it is the highest award given for community tennis and recognizes volunteer tennis leaders for significant contributions to tennis development in their communities.

“We are excited to have Eve Kraft and Gene Scott as our 2016 inductees into the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame,” said TIA President Jeff Williams, the chair of the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame Committee. “Their contributions continue to help this sport and industry to grow, and continue to impact peoples’ lives for the better.”

The Tennis Industry Hall of Fame was created in 2008 to recognize inventors, founders, innovators and contributors who have made a significant impact on the sport of tennis. The TI Hall of Fame currently has 10 inductees: Howard Head (2008), Dennis Van der Meer (2008), Alan Schwartz (2009), Billie Jean King (2010), Nick Bollettieri (2011), Howard Gill Jr. (2013), Walter Montenegro (2013), Sheldon Westervelt (2013), Jim Baugh (2014) and Peter Burwash (2015). A plaque honoring the inductees is on display at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

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About the Author

Peter Francesconi is editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine.

 

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