ITHF presents awards

NEWPORT, R.I. — The International Tennis Hall of Fame presented the 2012 Samuel Hardy and Tennis Educational Merit Awards on Saturday, March 16 during the International Tennis Hall of Fame Annual Awards Luncheon, which was held in conjunction with the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Annual Meeting in Weston, Fla. Hall of Famers Stan Smith and Monica Seles participated in the presentation of the awards, which are given annually to recognize great volunteers and leaders in the sport of tennis. Mayor David Dinkins of New York, N.Y. received the prestigious Samuel Hardy Award. The Tennis Educational Merit Awards were presented to former WTA pro Kathy Rinaldi of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., who is now a national coach in USTA Player Development, and Ned Eames of Boston, Mass., one of the country’s most successful leaders of a National Junior Tennis & Learning organization.


Ned Eames, Mayor David Dinkins, Kathy Rinaldi
Photos: Susan Mullane/camerawork usa

“Mayor Dinkins, Ned Eames, and Kathy Rinaldi have shown tremendous dedication to the sport of tennis through volunteer work and their own careers,” said Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. “Very much in the spirit of Samuel Hardy, Mayor Dinkins has donated countless hours to the growth of the sport through his efforts to support the US Open and his leadership within the USTA and other industry organizations. Having experienced great success on the WTA Tour herself, Kathy has devoted her career to helping other young women achieve their dreams through her work as an impactful and inspiring coach. At Tenacity, Inc. in Boston, Ned has developed one of the country’s finest National Junior Tennis & Learning organizations, opening the doors to education and opportunity for thousands of children. These three individuals have applied their love of tennis to such important work, ultimately growing the sport and helping so many individuals. We are grateful for all that they do for tennis and we are pleased to recognize their dedication and accomplishments.”

The Samuel Hardy Award is presented annually by the International Tennis Hall of Fame to a volunteer of the USTA in recognition of long and outstanding service to the sport of tennis. The award was established in 1953 in memory of Hardy, who served on various USTA committees in his lifetime. The award was established to honor USTA volunteers who exemplify Hardy’s dedication and loyalty to the sport of tennis.

Hall of Famer Monica Seles introduced Mayor Dinkins at the awards luncheon. A dedicated tennis enthusiast and player, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins has devoted tremendous time and energy to helping tennis to grow and improve. As City Clerk and Democratic Party leader he assisted Slew Hester, Lew Rudin and other city leaders in relocating the US Open from the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows. Dinkins was elected Borough President of Manhattan in 1985, and in 1989, he was elected Mayor of New York City. Between 1989 and 1994, he played a significant role in growing the US Open and keeping it in New York City by arranging the re-routing of planes flying over the event, and by negotiating with the USTA what Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called “the best stadium deal in the country.” He supported the early development of the National Junior Tennis League, which utilizes tennis as a vehicle to encourage at risk youth to stay in school, and he has served on its board from 1975 to present, except for the 8 years (1985-93) when he was an elected official. His dedication to the organization reflects his strong belief that the sport of tennis can have a positive impact by teaching young people invaluable life skills and broadening their horizons. Dinkins served as a member of the USTA Board of Directors for six two-year terms from 1999 to 2011 — a longer term of service than any other board member in the history of the association. Throughout his service, he advocated on behalf of the USTA’s youth development and diversity initiatives, and he counseled the organization’s leadership on the growth and promotion of the US Open in New York City. He also served as a board member of the Professional Tennis Registry for 14 years (1996-2010). An avid player since taking up the game in the 1960’s, he continues to play five days a week, singles and doubles, at 85 years of age.

The Tennis Educational Merit award is given annually to individual(s) who are United States citizens and have made notable contributions in the tennis education field at the national level. Award winners have repeatedly demonstrated leadership and creative skills in tennis instruction, writing, organization, and promotion of the game of tennis.

As a successful WTA professional Kathy Rinaldi achieved a career high ranking of world No. 7 and she was a member of the United States Fed Cup team in 2006-2008. Today, Rinaldi serves as the USTA National Coach at the USTA Player Development Training Headquarters, where she has been instrumental in helping a number of young American girls achieve strong results. In 2011, she was named the National Coach of the Year in the sport of tennis by the United States Olympic Committee. She has served on the USTA Youth and Competition Committee, the WTA Board for Special Olympics, and she was the mentor for Anna Kournikova in the WTA “Partners for Success Program.” Since working at USTA Player Development, Rinaldi has been a regular on-court presenter at the Tennis Teacher’s Conference in New York City. She has also been a guest analyst/commentator for ESPN International and USTA World Feed for the past eight years. In addition, Rinaldi is the co-director of the University of Florida Gator Tennis Camp and a professional for several area country clubs in Florida.

Ned Eames is the president and founder of Tenacity, Inc., one of the nation’s most successful National Junior Tennis & Learning organizations. Eames developed Tenacity with a mission to improve the academic, character and physical development of urban youth by combining tennis instruction and competition with literacy instruction and life skills development. This vision is achieved daily through intensive school-year and summer programs which currently serve 6,500 Boston and Worcester youth per year. In just 13 years, Tenacity has grown to become the second largest of the USTA’s 660 NJTL Chapters across the nation. The success of Tenacity’s programs is seen in the 3-year Middle School Academy (MSA), which is the backbone of Tenacity’s Pathway to Post-Secondary Success. In the 2012 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) results, the Tenacity 8th grade students scored 35% higher in English, Language, and Arts proficiency levels than their Boston Public School counterparts. In Boston, where approximately 40% of public school students drop out, 95% of Tenacity’s school-year students go on to succeed in and graduate from high school. Eames earned his MBA, with a concentration in Strategic Organization Change, from Boston University and he serves as a member of the USTA’s Strategic & Creative Planning Committee. He has also served on both the USTA’s Public Affairs & Advocacy Committee and as chairman of the National Junior Tennis & Learning Committee (NJTL). Eames played professionally on the ATP Satellite Tour for three years from 1983 to 1985.

Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of tennis and honoring its greatest champions and contributors. Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 224 people from 19 countries. For additional information about the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, visit or call 401-849-3990.


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