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Hall of Famers receive official rings

NEWPORT, R.I. — From Rod Laver’s Grand Slams to Mark Woodforde’s record-setting doubles career, and Rosie Casals’ 100-plus titles and her efforts to develop the women’s pro game, each of these tennis legends had immense success in the sport and were instrumental in shaping the history of tennis. In recognition of their achievements, all three were presented the highest honor in the sport — induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Laver was inducted in 1981, Woodforde went in alongside his doubles partner Todd Woodbridge in 2010, and Casals was honored with induction in 1996. In a special ceremony yesterday at the BNP Paribas Open, this important achievement was celebrated once again with the presentation of their official Hall of Fame rings.

“Fifty years after his first Grand Slam victory in 1962, we’re so pleased to celebrate Rod Laver this year by presenting him with his official Hall of Fame ring. We’re also glad to partner with the BNP Paribas Open in this ceremony to honor one of the greatest doubles players of all time, Mark Woodforde, as well as Rosie Casals, who we salute for both her incredibly successful playing career and her dedication to advancing the women’s pro game,” said Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “As Hall of Famers, Rod, Mark, and Rosie are already among an elite group of athletes. Today, we are pleased to be able to recognize their achievements once more with this special ring, which only the most successful and influential individuals in tennis will have the honor of wearing.”

Hall of Famers Rod Laver, Rosie Casals and Mark Woodforde received their Hall of Fame rings from fellow Hall of Famer and Hall of Fame President, Stan Smith, and Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser, at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Clouser presented the rings on Center Court at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. The tournament counts Woodforde among its past champions, as he and Woodbridge won the doubles title in 1996. Also participating in the ring ceremony was Charlie Pasarell, tournament chairman, and Steve Simon, tournament director.

The personalized rings were introduced last year and are being presented to Hall of Famers at tennis events around the world over the next few years as a special symbol of their Hall of Fame induction. The personalized rings bear a green stone set in gold, to complement the Hall of Fame’s brand colors. In addition, the rings are etched with each honoree’s name and the Hall of Fame logo crest. The rings have been generously underwritten by The Bruce T. Halle Family of Scottsdale, Arizona. Hall of Fame ring ceremonies have recently been hosted at the SAP Open in San Jose, where Stan Smith received his ring and at the Copa Claro tournament in Buenos Aires, where Gabriela Sabatini was presented her ring. The ring ceremonies will continue over the next several years, with the next scheduled for the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April.

Even among the greatest legends of tennis, Aussie great Rod Laver stands out in an elite category of the best of the best. In addition to capturing an extraordinary 200 titles and 11 major singles titles, Laver was the world No. 1 player for seven consecutive years from 1964 - 1970. He is the only tennis player ever to have twice achieveda Grand Slam, winning all four major singles titles in both 1962 and 1969. In addition to his impressive singles career, Laver captured six major titles in doubles and three in mixed, and he played an integral role in leading the Australian Davis Cup team to victory four times.

Regarded as an exciting, but rebellious, player for her aggressive game and unconventional clothing styles, Hall of Famer Rosie Casals’ true legacy lies in her extraordinarily successful playing record and the positive impact she left on growing the women’s pro game. Casals was a member of “The Original 9”, the women who formed the Virginia Slims Circuit in 1970, and she was a dedicated advocate for equal prize money and better playing opportunities for women. During an impressive career that spanned more than two decades, Casals captured 12 major titles in doubles and mixed doubles, and won 112 doubles titles. A non-stop competitor, Casals was a force on the singles court as well, achieving a career high singles ranking of world No. 5.

Australian Mark Woodforde partnered with countryman Todd Woodbridge to form one of the greatest doubles teams of all time. Collectively known as “The Woodies,” the duo captured 61 doubles titles, including 11 majors. The Woodies also won two Olympic Medals - Doubles Gold in 1996 and Doubles Silver in 2000, and they helped to clinch the Davis Cup for Australia in 1999. In all, Woodforde won 67 doubles titles, four singles titles and five mixed doubles crowns. He won each leg of the Grand Slam in men’s doubles as well as in mixed doubles. He held down the No. 1 ranking in doubles for 84 weeks during his career and was also ranked within the top-20 in singles.

Joining Laver, Woodforde and Casals for their ring ceremony were fellow Hall of Famers Pancho Segura, Peachy Kellmeyer, Brad Parks, Tony Trabert, Stan Smith, Gigi Fernandez, Donald Dell, Pam Shriver and Class of 2012 Inductee Mike Davies. Charlie Pasarell and Raymond Moore, CEO and President of PM Sports Management respectively and Steve Simon, Tournament Director of the BNP Paribas Open also participated in the ceremony, along with International Tennis Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser.

Since 1955, 220 of the greatest champions and contributors to the sport have been inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Presently, there are 85 Hall of Famers living in 16 different countries, a testament to the global reach of the game. Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis and honoring the game’s greatest heroes. In addition, the Hall of Fame provides a landmark for tennis enthusiasts, offering an extensive museum that chronicles the history of the sport and its stars, historic grass tennis courts that date back to 1880 and are open to the public, an ATP World Tour tournament and the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in July, and numerous public events year-round. To learn more, visit tennisfame.com.

 

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