Pasarell honored with Hall of Fame ring
NEWPORT, R.I. — Charlie Pasarell is most recently best known as the past tournament director, managing partner, and former owner of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., but his contributions as a tennis industry leader have spanned all levels of the sport and have been a driving force in the growth of tennis for more than 40 years. In addition to the tremendous growth that he cultivated for the BNP Paribas Open, Pasarell was a co-founder and an active leader within the ATP and a co-founder of the National Junior Tennis League. In recognition of his immense contributions to the sport, last year Pasarell received the highest honor in tennis- enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
In a special ceremony on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open, this important achievement was celebrated once again when Pasarell was presented with his official Hall of Fame ring. The personalized rings were introduced in recent years and are being presented to Hall of Famers at tennis events around the world as a special symbol of their Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Pasarell received his ring in a Center Court ceremony at the tournament, which included video highlights from his Enshrinement Ceremony in Newport last year. A group of Charlie’s fellow Hall of Famers, friends, and colleagues participated in the ceremony.
The ring was presented by Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser, Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, and Charlie’s good friend, Hall of Famer Donald Dell. Pasarell’s father, Charles Pasarell, Sr., joined the group for the celebration on center court, as did Hall of Fame CEO Mark Stenning, BNP Paribas Open CEO Ray Moore, and Tournament Director Steve Simon. In addition, a remarkable group of Hall of Famers gathered to honor Charlie in the ring presentation. In addition to Smith and Dell, those participating were Rod Laver, Bud Collins, Butch Buchholz, Brad Parks, Rosie Casals, Roy Emerson, and Mark Woodforde.
“Charlie Pasarell has dedicated his life to growing tennis in all aspects of the game, from junior tennis to the pro tours. Clearly, tennis is all the better for having had his leadership and dedication. In recognition of his many contributions to tennis, last summer, in Newport, he received the highest honor in the sport- enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Last night, with the help of his fellow Hall of Famers and at the tournament that he was so instrumental in building, it was a pleasure to celebrate this accomplishment once again by presenting him with his official Hall of Fame ring,” commented Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser.
Like many great leaders in tennis, Pasarell got his start as a player. He was a NCAA champion for UCLA, he won the U.S. National Indoors twice, and he was a dedicated Davis Cup player - an integral member of the championship United States team in 1968.
Off the courts, Pasarell has dedicated his life to growth of the game. In 1969, with his friends Arthur Ashe and Sheridan Snyder, he founded the National Junior Tennis League, which created playing opportunities for young people in underprivileged communities and today has more than 650 active chapters. In 1971, he banded together with a group of peers to found the ATP, with the goal of giving players a unified voice in the new Open Era. He then served as an active board leader in men’s pro tennis for more than 35 years.
Perhaps his dedication to growing tennis is most visible at the BNP Paribas Open. When he took over as tournament director for the event in 1981, it was a struggling ATP World Tour stop. Under Pasarell’s leadership, the event grew to be the largest two-week combined ATP and WTA tennis tournament in the world, with incredible growth in fan attendance and television broadcasts, and outstanding facility expansion and improvements.
Since 1955, 235 of the greatest champions and contributors to the sport have been enshrined into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 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 Enshrinement Ceremony in July, and numerous public events year-round. To learn more, visit tennisfame.com.
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