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ITHF to enshrine Hingis, Drysdale, Pasarell, Tiriac

NEWPORT, R.I. — In recognition of their great accomplishments and immense contributions to the sport of tennis, former world No. 1 and 5-time singles Grand Slam champion Martina Hingis, Australian tennis legend Thelma Coyne Long and influential tennis industry leaders Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac will be presented the highest honor in the sport this weekend- enshrinement into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Joining them in the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be six individuals who achieved extraordinary success in tennis in the late 1800s through the early 1900s. Daphne Akhurst and James Anderson, both of Australia, Wilfred Baddeley, Blanche Bingley Hillyard, and Charlotte Cooper Sterry, all from the UK, and Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling of Germany will all be posthumously enshrined in the Master Player Category, by a special selection made by the Enshrinee Nominating Committee.

“An accomplished champion and brilliant player, Martina Hingis is one of the all-time greats in our sport, and we look forward to celebrating her impressive career during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. Were it not for the vision, dedication, and drive to grow the game that Cliff, Charlie, and Ion have all shared, tennis would not be the established, high profile, exciting sport we all know and love today. In addition, we are delighted to honor Thelma Coyne Long and the Master Player enshrinees, all of whom played such an important role in the history of our sport,” said Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “The Enshrinement Ceremony will be an extraordinary day and we look forward to honoring these outstanding individuals, and sharing in the celebration with their many fans.”

The 11 members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2013 will be honored in a grand ceremony applauding their success on Saturday, July 13 at the Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., which is the centerpiece of Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. The Enshrinement Ceremony will be broadcast live on Tennis Channel at 12:30 p.m. EST.

In addition to the ceremony, the weekend will feature the unveiling of tribute exhibits for the new Hall of Famers in the museum, celebratory events, and an exhibition match on Sunday morning at 10 a.m., when 2013 Hall of Famer Martina Hingis will be back in action. WTA tennis great Mary Pierce, four-time Grand Slam champion in singles and doubles will join Hingis in the exhibition. Former world top-10 star Todd Martin will also play in the match, along with Hall of Famers Stan Smith.

The Enshrinement Ceremony will feature speeches by the new Hall of Famers, as well as introductory presentation speeches by people they have selected. Hingis will be presented by Phil De Picciotto of Octagon, who served as her agent over the course of her successful career. Hall of Famer Rod Laver will accept honors on behalf of Thelma Coyng Long, who is 94 years old, living in Sydney, and unable to attend in person. Cliff Drysdale will be presented by his son, Greg Drysdale. Presenting Charlie Pasarell will be Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, widow of Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe. Ion Tiriac will be presented by former United States Senator and Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. The Master Player enshrinees will be recognized in the ceremony by Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser.

In addition to the new honorees and Laver, Hall of Famers set to take part in the ceremony include International Tennis Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, Russ Adams, Butch Buchholz, Rosie Casals, Bud Collins, Owen Davidson, Donald Dell, Peachy Kellmeyer, Dick Savitt, Vic Seixas, and Pam Shriver.

Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has honored 234 people representing 11 countries, inclusive of the Class of 2013. The International Tennis Hall of Fame features a comprehensive tennis museum that commemorates the greatest champions and contributors of the sport and chronicles the history of tennis from its 12th century beginnings through present day. A special exhibit paying tribute to the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 has recently been installed and will be showcased in the museum for one year. Items on display include Hingis’ Grand Slam trophies from the 1997 US Open, 1998 Australian Open, and her 1997 Wimbledon victory, as well as apparel from her career. Dynamic imagery showcases industry leaders Drysdale, Pasarell, and Tiriac in action over the span of their careers, ranging from players to leadership roles. A unique highlight of the exhibit is Thelma Coyne Long’s 1952 Australian Championships singles trophy- a momento of a particularly notable year in which she won the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles.

Following are detailed biographies of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

Recent Player Category

Eligibility criteria for the Recent Player Category is as follows: active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP or WTA Tour within five years prior to enshrinement; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character.

Martina Hingis, 32, of Switzerland, was the world’s Number 1 singles player for 209 non-consecutive weeks. Hingis also held the world No. 1 doubles ranking for 35 weeks. She is in the elite company of Martina Navratilova, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Lindsay Davenport, and Kim Clijsters as one of just five players in history to have held both the singles and doubles No. 1 WTA ranking simultaneously.

Hingis has always been held in high regard for her astute mental game. Her shot selection was of the highest quality- each one delivered with impeccable execution and deliberate purpose.

Hingis’ masterful game earned her five Grand Slam tournament titles in singles, including three consecutive Australian Open crowns (1997-1999), and one each at Wimbledon and the US Open. She was the year-end world No. 1 in singles three times-1997, 1999, and 2000.

She achieved great success in doubles as well. In 1998, she won all four majors in doubles, becoming the fourth woman in tennis history to achieve a doubles Grand Slam. In all, she won eight doubles titles at majors, and one in mixed doubles.

Hingis won a total of 43 singles titles and 37 doubles titles over the course of her career, and compiled records of 548-133 in singles and 286-54 in doubles. In 1998, she led the Swiss Fed Cup team to its only Fed Cup final (lost 3-2 to Spain). She captured two WTA Tour Championships in singles (1998 and 2000) and two in doubles (1999 and 2000).

Since retirement, she has been active in World TeamTennis. Most recently, Hingis has taken on a coaching role, and she is currently working with up and coming WTA players.

Contributor Category

Eligibility criteria for the Contributor Category is as follows: 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.

After a successful playing career in the 1960s and 1970s and a leadership role in the launch of the ATP, Cliff Drysdale turned his attention to tennis broadcasting, and for more than thirty years, he has been one of the most respected and appreciated voices of the sport. Drysdale, 72, has been on the air with ESPN since the network’s very first tennis telecast- a Davis Cup match between the United States and Argentina on September 14, 1979, just one week after ESPN’s debut. In the thirty-plus years since, Drysdale has called all four Grand Slam tournaments and countless important moments in tennis history. Known for his insightful analysis and engaging delivery, he has played an integral role in sharing the greatest stories of tennis, and has been an influential ambassador for the sport.

Drysdale was a member of the original “Handsome Eight” of World Championship Tennis, the tour that laid the groundwork for a viable men’s professional tennis tour, and he was one of the world’s top players at the dawn of the Open Era. With his contemporaries, he was a co-founder of the ATP, which was developed to give players a unified voice and in structuring the professional game for the Open Era. Drysdale served as the organization’s first president, in 1972 - 1974. Originally from South Africa, but now a United States citizen, Drysdale was ranked in the year-end world top-10 six times and achieved a career high ranking of world No. 4. Drysdale was a finalist at the U.S. Nationals in 1965, and he won the US Open doubles title in 1972 with Roger Taylor.

Thirty years ago, Charlie Pasarell, 69, took over a struggling ATP World Tour event in the Coachella Valley and transformed it into a two-week, ATP and WTA combined event that is among the most exciting and important in tennis. Under Pasarell’s leadership, the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has grown from 30,000 attendees to more than 370,000, and the event facilities have grown from one small stadium to a 24-court facility.

In 1972, as tennis was in the pivotal transition to the Open Era, Pasarell banded together with a group of his fellow players to found the ATP, with the goal of giving players a voice in the structuring the new professional game. When the new ATP World Tour was established in 1990, Pasarell was elected by the tournaments to serve as their representative, and he was re-elected to the position every year for 20 consecutive years, until he retired. In 1969, Pasarell partnered with Arthur Ashe and Sheridan Snyder to launch National Junior Tennis League, which utilizes tennis a vehicle for teaching life skills and encouraging kids to stay in school. Today, the program continues to be the largest grassroots tennis program in the United Sates, with more than 600 chapters.

Like many industry leaders, Pasarell got his start in tennis as a player. He achieved the No. 1 ranking in the United States in 1967, and he was an integral member of the championship United States Davis Cup team in 1968.

A successful doubles player turned tennis power broker, Ion Tiriac has been an influential tennis leader in roles ranging from coach to player manager to tournament promoter. Tiriac was an instrumental part of Romania’s Davis Cup team, competing for 15 years, and helping the team advance to the finals three times. With fellow Romanian Ilie Nastase, Tiriac won the French Open doubles title in 1970.

After his playing career, Tiraic, 74, developed a sharp, business-like approach to tennis and he worked tirelessly to promote the players, grow the tournaments, build up television broadcasts, and to grow the sport overall. He managed the careers of top players including Guillermo Vilas, Goran Ivanisevic, and most notably, Boris Becker, who won five Grand Slam titles while working with Tiriac. Tiriac was a successful promoter and tournament director for numerous events including the two of the largest Masters 1000 events, the Italian Open and the Madrid Masters.

Tennis is but one of a myriad of industries in which Ion Tiriac has had great success. Since the fall of the communist government in his native Romania in 1989, he has worked to rebuild the country’s economic and social infrastructure, developing business in banking, real estate, and other ventures, and he is an active philanthropist.

Master Player Category

Eligibility criteria for the Master Player Category is as follows: Competitors in the sport who have been retired for at least 20 years prior to consideration; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character.

Thelma Coyne Long , 94, of Sydney, Australia, had a remarkable career of more than 20 years (1935 - 1958), in which she captured a total of 19 Grand Slam tournament titles, including championships in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. In 1952, she achieved a career-best ranking of No. 7. That same year, she completed an Australian triple by sweeping the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles at the Australian Championships.

Master Players who may have been active in the sport in 20 years ago are typically part of the Enshrinement Class each year, but from time to time, the International Tennis Hall of Fame makes an effort to look further back into the history of the game to ensure that the great champions who shaped the history of the sport, long before the Hall of Fame came into existence, are appropriately honored. As part of the Class of 2013, six significant and thoroughly deserving individuals who were active in the late 1800s and early 1900s will be honored. The Hall of Fame’s Enshrinee Nominating Committee and Board of Directors’ Executive Committee collectively agreed in making this special Masters selection of these seven individuals and award them Hall of Fame status.

Daphne Akhurst (1903-1933)

A self taught and highly motivatd player, Daphne Akhurst was the first Australian woman to achieve great success in the sport. She captured 14 triumphs at her native Australian Championships, taking both the singles and women’s doubles events five times, and achieving four victories in mixed doubles. She seldom competed at the other majors, but did reach the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1928 in singles as an unseeded player, knocking out the formidable American Helen Hull Jacobs along the way. Today, she is remembered at the Australian Open each year as the women’s singles champion hoists the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in victory.

James Anderson (1894-1973)

One of the great players of the 1920s, Australian James Anderson, affectionately known as J.O. Anderson, was victorious at the Australian Championship three times in singles (1922, 1924, and 1925), and he collected two of those titles with five set, final round triumphs. Anderson was a dedicated member of the triumphant Australian Davis Cup team of 1919, and he compiled a record of 20-7 in singles matches when representing his country through the years.

Wilfred Baddeley (1872-1929)

In 1891, Wilfred Baddeley claimed the Wimbledon singles title at the age of 19 years and five months, standing as the youngest of all male champions until Boris Becker broke the record in 1985. Baddeley, known for his consistency, made it to six consecutive finals at Wimbledon, winning the title three times (1891, 1892, and 1895). In addition, he captured four doubles titles alongside his twin brother, Herbert (1891, 1894, 1895, and 1896).

Blanche Bingley Hillyard (1963-1946)

A six-time Wimbledon singles champion, Great Britain’s Blanche Bingley Hillyard competed in the first ever ladies event on those hallowed lawns in 1884 at age 20. Nearly three decades later, at 48, she played Wimbledon for the last time in 1913. She won her first crown in 1886, and captured her last in 1900 at 36, establishing herself as oldest champion at the game’s centerpiece event until Charlotte Cooper Sterry took that honor in 1908.

Charlotte Cooper Sterry (1870-1966)

When Charlotte Cooper Sterry captured her fifth and last singles championship at Wimbledon in 1908, she became the oldest female champion of all time at the age of 37 years and 282 days. A stalwart British competitor who prided herself on the consistency of her performance, she set another record by reaching eight consecutive Wimbledon finals from 1885-1892. Not until Martina Navratilova made it to nine finals in a row (1982-1990) was Cooper Sterry’s remarkable record surpassed.

Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling (1908 -1981)

An outstanding clay court player, Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling was one of only four women ever to capture the French Championships for three consecutive years (1935-1937). Sperling was a German competitor who became a Danish citizen after getting married in 1933. She won six German Championships singles titles, the prestigious Italian Championships crown once, and spent ten straight years among the top ten in the world. A highlight of her career was capturing the Wimbledon mixed doubles in 1933 when she partnered with the great Gottfried von Cramm.

 

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