Orantes Honored with Davis Cup Award of Excellence
NEWPORT, R.I. — The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have announced that Manuel Orantes will be honored with the 2009 Davis Cup Award of Excellence. Presentation of the award will be made on Saturday, December 5 during a special on-court ceremony at the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final, which will be contested between Spain and Czech Republic and will be hosted at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona. Presenting this prestigious award to Orantes will be the president of the International Tennis Federation, Francesco Ricci Bitti, and Hall of Famer Manolo Santana.
“The International Tennis Hall of Fame and the ITF are proud to recognize Manuel Orantes with this year’s Davis Cup Award of Excellence,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. “Manuel’s skill, leadership and sportsmanship have been highly influential factors in the growth of Davis Cup and Spain’s success over the years.”
“Manuel has always been one of the great ambassadors of tennis and we are proud to recognize his contributions to the game, and in particular to the Davis Cup, in which he competed for his country for 14 years,” added ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.
The purpose of this award is to recognize the importance of Davis Cup by honoring individuals who best represent the ideals of the competition’s founder, Dwight Davis. The Davis Cup Award of Excellence is presented annually and is voted on by a panel that includes the ITF President, the Chairman of the Davis Cup Committee, the President of the host National Association, a representative of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and a journalist from the host nation. The recipient must be a member of a past or present Davis Cup team, and must be from the country/region where the Final is being held.
Manuel Orantes was a steadfast member of the Spanish Davis Cup team from 1967 - 1980, and is tied for the most number of years played (14) with Sergio Casal and Manuel Santana. Orantes’ Davis Cup career resulted in 60 wins and 27 losses, including 39 singles victories. In addition, he was a member of the victorious Spanish team that won the 1978 World Team Cup.
Orantes reached world no. 2 ranking in 1973. He captured 33 career victories, including the 1975 US Open, in which he defeated Jimmy Connors. One of the best players in Spanish history, Orantes’ recognition for his success on the court was complemented by a high regard for his sportsmanship.
The Davis Cup Award of Excellence was inaugurated in 2001 by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation. Past recipients are Neale Fraser (1984 Hall of Famer) of Australia in 2001; Pierre Darmon of France in 2002; John Newcombe (1986 Hall of Famer) of Australia in 2003; Manolo Santana (1984 Hall of Famer) of Spain in 2004; Miloslav Mecir of the Slovak Republic and Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia in 2005; Alex Metreveli of Russia in 2006; Stan Smith (1987 Hall of Famer) of the United States in 2007; and Guillermo Vilas (1991 Hall of Famer) of Argentina in 2008.
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