Laver to be honored with Eugene L. Scott Award
NEWPORT, R.I. — Rod Laver, the only person in history to have ever achieved two Grand Slams and undoubtedly one of the greatest legends of tennis, will be an honored guest at the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Legends Ball, an annual gala celebration to be hosted on September 6 in New York City during the US Open. At the event, Laver will receive the Eugene L. Scott Award, given annually in memory of the late Tennis Week founder to an individual who has shown a commitment to tennis and has made a positive impact on the sport.
Additionally, Laver will be a special guest at this summer’s Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. Laver will participate in the Class of 2013 Enshrinement Ceremony, paying tribute to Australian tennis great Thelma Coyne Long, who is among the enshrinees. A dominant Australian player of the 1930s-1950s, Long won an impressive 19 major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. Long, who is 94 years old and living in the Sydney area, is currently unable to travel to Newport, but has sent along her appreciation for the honor. Tickets for the Enshrinement Ceremony, which will be held on July 13, are available now on HallofFameTennisChampionships.com or by phone at 401-849-6053. This will be Laver’s first appearance in Newport for the Hall of Fame Enshrinement festivities since 2004.
“Even among the greatest legends of tennis, Rod Laver stands out in an elite category of the best of the best, and for being a true gentleman,” said Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher E. Clouser. “Rolex Hall of Fame Weekend and The Legends Ball are centered on honoring the great legends who have built tennis into the great sport that it is today. Rod has set the bar very high, both in terms of success on the tennis court and in being a role model for so many. There is no finer ambassador for the sport of tennis and the International Tennis Hall of Fame than Rod, and we are very pleased to be able to thank him for his contributions to tennis at these great events.”
Laver won an extraordinary 200 titles and 11 major singles titles during his career and he was the world No. 1 player for seven consecutive years from 1964 - 1970. He is the only tennis player ever to have twice achieved a 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. In 1981, Laver was honored for his great accomplishments in tennis with the highest honor in the sport, enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Universally respected and adored by tennis players, leaders, and fans, Laver has gone on to be one of the sport’s most trusted voices and ambassadors.
“I am honored and pleased to return to the International Tennis Hall of Fame and to participate in the ceremony which bestows the highest honor in the game of tennis. Like so many of my peers and tennis fans around the world, I appreciate all that the Hall of Fame does to celebrate the history of tennis all around the world, and it’s a real joy for me to be able to participate in that mission,” commented Laver. “Thelma is one of Australia’s best female players of all time, and I’m so glad I’ll be able to be part of her Hall of Fame enshrinement in Newport. Also, I am honored to be recognized with an award that pays tribute to such a trusted tennis industry voice and important tennis industry leader as Gene Scott. I look forward to celebrating with the tennis community in September during the US Open.”
Eugene L. Scott was a United States Davis Cup player and a tournament director, but perhaps his greatest impact on the tennis world was as a voice for the game. He founded Tennis Week magazine and wrote the most widely read and well-respected column about the sport, “Vantage Point” until his death in 2006. His writings about the sport were known for their poignancy and clarity, and he was dubbed “the conscience of the game.”
Each year at the Legends Ball, the Hall of Fame gives the award in Scott’s honor to 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. Previous recipients of the award have been: John McEnroe (2006); Andre Agassi (2007); Billie Jean King (2008); Arthur Ashe and his wife Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe (2009); Martina Navratilova (2010); Dick Enberg (2011); and Chris Evert (2012).
The Legends Ball will be held on September 6 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. The grand, annual social event will gather together tennis legends, industry leaders, and dedicated fans to celebrate the sport and pay tribute to some of tennis’ greatest champions and contributors, including the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2013, which is comprised of Martina Hingis, Thelma Coyne Long, Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac. Proceeds of The Legends Ball, which has been held annually since 1980, will benefit the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and support the mission of preserving the history of the game, honoring the legends and inspiring the future. Early reservations for the event are now being accepted and may be made by calling 401-324-4072.
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