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Davies to be inducted to the ITHF

NEWPORT, R.I. — In recognition of his immense contributions to growing the sport worldwide, Mike Davies, who currently serves as CEO of the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the Class of 2012. A quiet, but influential, behind-the-scenes executive in the tennis world, Davies has had a 40+ year career in tennis promotion and administration, with achievements ranging from forging the first, highly successful television/tennis contracts and negotiating major sponsorships to introducing the colored tennis ball to the game.

“Mike Davies was a true trailblazer for the sport of tennis, and we should all be grateful for his forward-thinking mentality and perseverance to build and grow the professional game,” said Hall of Famer Tony Trabert, who serves as Chair of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. “On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Enshrinee Nominating Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, I extend congratulations and gratitude to Mike for all that he has accomplished for tennis.”

Davies has been elected to the Hall of Fame in the Contributor Category. The remaining members of the Class of 2012, who are elected as Recent Players and Master Players, will be announced in the month ahead. The Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony will be hosted on July 14 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I. The ceremony is held in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event. Tickets for that day include seats for the Induction Ceremony and the tournament semi-finals, and tickets are available now on tennisfame.com or by phone at 866-914-FAME (2363).

After a successful pre-Open Era playing career which included a holding the No.1 national ranking in Britain, Davies’ influential 40+ year career in tennis promotion and administration officially began in 1968 when he took the role of Executive Director of World Championship Tennis (WCT), a position he held until 1981.

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While leading the WCT, Davies was at the forefront of staging tournaments and selling sponsorships and television rights, thereby creating a platform for professional tennis to expand into large stadiums and major cities. The group contracted top professional players including Rod Laver, Cliff Drysdale, Roy Emerson, Tony Roche, and Stan Smith, and in 1970, launched the first multi-million dollar tour, which consisted of 20 tournaments throughout the world. During his 13 years as Executive Director, Davies initiated a number of tennis firsts, including the first major network broadcast of a tennis tournament - which aired on NBC. In addition, Davies was the first to incorporate the tie-breaker into a professional circuit, and he introduced colored clothing on players and colored tennis balls so television viewers at home could better distinguish between the competitors and follow the path of the ball. Davies also introduced other innovations and rules to the game that are now standards in today’s tournaments including the rules of 30 seconds between points and 90 seconds between games, and chairs on the court for the players during changeovers.

In 1981, Davies moved on to serve as the Marketing Director and then Executive Director for the Association of Tennis Professionals (later known as the ATP). The ATP was almost bankrupt at the time, and when Davies left after three years they had more than $1 million in assets. He helped consolidate the players’ pension plan and created more jobs for players with bigger draws, more tournaments and increased prize money.

In the late 1980’s, Davies served as General Manager of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). He is widely credited with revitalizing the Davis Cup, and putting the event back on firm financial footing during his tenure with the ITF, ultimately increasing the future value of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup around the world. Since 1997, Davies has served as CEO of New Haven’s professional tournament.

Originally from Swansea, Wales, Davies, 76, began his lifelong tennis career as a player at the age of 11, when he was discovered as a young talent by British legend and Hall of Famer Fred Perry. In 1957, 1959 and 1960, he was ranked No. 1 in Great Britain, and he was a member of the British Davis Cup team from 1956 to 1960, compiling a winning match record of 24-13. In 1960 he reached the men’s doubles final at Wimbledon with Bobby Wilson, marking the last time a British male has been in the final of Wimbledon’s men’s singles or men’s doubles.

Eligibility & Voting

Election to the International Tennis Hall of Fame is based on the all of an individual’s achievements and accomplishments in the sport, and it is the highest honor a person can receive in tennis.

Inductees to the International Tennis Hall of Fame are elected in the categories of Recent Player, Master Player and Contributor. Criteria considered for the Contributor Category includes exceptional contributions that have furthered the growth, reputation and character of the sport, in categories such as administration, media, coaching and officiating. Contributor candidates do not need to be retired from their activities related to the sport to be considered. To be eligible for Hall of Fame induction in the Recent Player Category, the individual must have been active as a competitor in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration, but must not have been a significant factor on the ATP, WTA or Wheelchair Tennis Tours within five years prior to induction; and must hold a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level. Consideration is given to integrity, sportsmanship and character. The same criteria applies to the Master Player Category, except that it is for competitors in the sport who have been retired for at least 20 years prior to consideration.

The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, vote on the Master Player and Contributor nominees. A panel of International Tennis Media vote on the Recent Player nominee. To be inducted in any category, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.

Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis. Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 220 people from 19 countries.

The Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony will be hosted on July 14 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I. The ceremony is held in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event. Tickets for that day include seats for the Induction Ceremony and the tournament semi-finals, and tickets are available now on tennisfame.com or by phone at 866-914-FAME (2363).

 

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