Thu, 14 May 2009 19:44:03
For Immediate Release – January 15, 2009
NINE-TIME GRAND SLAM SINGLES CHAMPION MONICA SELES ELECTED TO INTERNATIONAL TENNIS HALL OF FAME
Gimeno, Dell and Johnson Join Seles for Induction this July
Tennis Legend Rod Laver To Be Honored During 2009 Induction Weekend
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND, USA – Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and Tony Trabert, Hall of Fame President, have announced the names of the newly elected members to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Leading the Induction Class of 2009 is ninetime Grand Slam Singles Champion and former World No.1 Monica Seles.
Joining Seles for Hall of Fame induction is one of Spain’s most prominent tennis players of the 1960s, Andres Gimeno, who has been elected in the Master Player category. In addition, elected in the Contributor category are Donald L. Dell, an industry pioneer and leader in sports marketing, professional sports management and sports television and founder of ProServ; and the late Dr. Robert "Whirlwind" Johnson, founder and director of the American Tennis Association (ATA) Junior Development Program, who worked tirelessly for decades assisting in the development of young African-American tennis players while helping to break the barriers of racial segregation.
"It is our great pleasure to welcome the newest members into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and to honor them for their brilliant careers and significant achievements in the sport of tennis," said Clouser.
The Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is slated for Saturday, July 11 in Newport, Rhode Island, during the final weekend of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (July 6-12), an ATP World Tour event. The International Tennis Hall of Fame, inclusive of the Class of 2009, now honors 211 champions of tennis representing 18 different countries.
One of the all-time great champions of tennis, "Rocket" Rod Laver, will be in Newport for the Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend, July 10-12. The International Tennis Hall of Fame will honor Laver, naming him a Hall of Fame Life Trustee and will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Laver’s second career Grand Slam triumph. Laver, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981, is the only player in the history of tennis to capture two career Grand Slams -1962 and 1969.
Monica Seles, now 35, held the World No.1 ranking for 178 weeks (non-consecutive) and captured nine Grand Slam singles titles – four Australian (1991-1993,1996), three at Roland Garros (1990-1992) and two US Opens (1991-1992). Her win-loss record at the Grand Slams was a staggering 43-4 at the Australian, 54-8 at Roland Garros, 30-9 at Wimbledon and 53-10 at the US Open. In a career spanning 15 years, she captured 53 singles titles and six doubles titles and collected well over $14 million in prize money. She won three consecutive year-end WTA Championships (1990-1992) and finished as the world’s No.1 ranked player in both 1991 and 1992.
A natural lefty, wielding double-handed forehands and backhands, she was a determined competitor. Her footwork was impeccable, her groundstrokes powerful and aggressive, and she constantly attacked her opponents with an arsenal of remarkable weapons.
At age 19, Seles had already won eight of her nine singles slams and was at the top of her game. Then in April 1993, during a changeover of her quarterfinal match against Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg, a fanatical fan of Steffi Graf came out of nowhere and stabbed her in the back, just below her left shoulder blade. The horror of this event sent shockwaves through the tennis community, and 27 months would pass before Seles played competitively again. When she returned to the courts, she was granted a coNo.1 ranking (shared with Steffi Graf) and won her comeback event at the Canadian Open, reached the US Open final, and followed up with her ninth Grand Slam singles championship at the Australian Open (1996).
Born December 2, 1973 in Novi Sad, in what was then Yugoslavia, she moved with her family to the United States in 1987 at the age of 13 to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. On March 16, 1994, she became a U.S. citizen. Seles would play on the United States Fed Cup team for five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002) posting a career 15-2 singles record and a 2-0 doubles record while helping the Americans capture the Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2000. .
Seles remains the youngest champion in history to win at Roland Garros (16 years, 6 months) and was the youngest winner of the Tour Championships (16 years, 11 months) beating Gabriela Sabatini in the first women’s match to extend to five sets since the 1901 U.S. National final. In addition, Seles won the Olympic bronze medal in 2000. Throughout her career, Seles won numerous awards, multiple Player and Athlete of the Year awards, and humanitarian awards. She is currently on the board of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and ICL (Institution for Civil Leadership).
Spain’s Master Player Andres Gimeno won the French Open in 1972 at the age of 34 years, 10 months, the oldest champion to grace the red clay at Roland Garros. In addition, he reached the final at the 1969 Australian Open; the semifinals at the 1968 French Open and at Wimbledon in 1970; and the quarterfinals at the 1958 Australian Championships, and the 1960 and 1969 French Championships. Gimeno captured seven singles titles and four doubles titles (in the Open era) and reached a career high ranking of No.9 in the world. As a member of Spain’s Davis Cup team 1958-60, 1972 and 1973, he posted a playing record of 23-10. As one of Spain’s premier amateur sportsmen, he became incredibly popular, as did the sport of tennis, and he became a national hero. In 1960, Gimeno signed on to the professional tennis tour staged by Jack Kramer and was an immediate sensation in the pro ranks finishing his first series second only to Pancho Gonzalez. Wielding a great overhead smash, strong volleys, a formidable forehand and with exceptional grace and balance, Gimeno’s career is highlighted in the sport’s amateur and professional periods, and then crossed into the Open era of tennis.
Donald L. Dell has spent his life in the forefront of the sport of tennis. As a player, he was a U.S. Davis Cup team member from 1961-64. As a non-playing captain of the 1968 and 1969 U.S. Davis Cup teams, he became the youngest U.S. captain and the first in 20 years to regain and successfully defend the Cup in consecutive years. He reached his highest U.S. singles ranking of No.4 in 1961, and made it to No.1 in doubles in 1962-63. Dell also represented the U.S. State Department on two world tennis tours (1961 and 1965) and was the first American in history to play competitive tennis in the Soviet Union (1961).
During the Open era, Dell’s business career took off as he dove into the sports marketing and management arena and became the first person to represent and manage the careers of tennis players, beginning with Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith. Players faced an uncertain future as tennis became a professional sport, and Dell persevered to develop future player opportunities, recognizing an athlete’s need for sound career management and the development of effective sports marketing programs. He is credited with having developed some of the most significant and long-lasting partnerships between sponsors and sports properties and he has negotiated over a billion dollars in sponsorships and endorsements.
In 1970, Dell’s own private law practice evolved into Professional Services Inc., (ProServ) which quickly assumed a leadership role in a new sports marketing industry and was the first-ever management company to represent tennis players. As Founder and Chairman, in 1999 ProServ was acquired by SFX as an integral part of its organization, and today, residing under the corporate umbrella of BEST – Blue Entertainment Sports Television – Dell currently oversees and advises many of the group’s global television properties, including the French Open, the US Open, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, of which he is also a tournament founder, in addition to 20 ATP World Tour tennis telecasts. After the creation and success of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Dell gave the event to the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation and has assisted in raising over $15 million for children’s tennis programs in the DC area.
In 1972, along with tennis icon Jack Kramer, Dell founded the Association for Tennis Professionals as a players’ union and served as its first General Counsel for eight years. An.active philanthropist, Dell is the Vice Chairman and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors and a member of both the USTA Public Relations Committee and the U.S. Davis Cup Selection Committee.
Dr. Robert "Whirlwind" Johnson (1899-1971) is considered the man most responsible for launching the careers of world tennis greats Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, the nation’s first African-American tennis champions. During a time of racial separation, Johnson, through quiet diplomacy, was able to open the doors of tournament competition to young African-Americans barred from mainstream competition. He persevered, despite the racial barriers of that time, and through whispered entreaties and legal challenges he helped pave the way for minorities to gain entrance into tournaments and excel at the highest levels of the game. For more than 20 years, Johnson’s home in Lynchburg, Virginia became the destination for talented black tennis players to receive training and to participate in integrated tournaments and exhibitions with the likes of Pauline Betz Addie and Bobby Riggs. He provided food, equipment, financial support and guidance throughout their development.
Through the American Tennis Association (ATA), which was formed in 1916, Johnson created the ATA Junior Development Program. In the 1950s and 1960s, he sponsored, trained and nurtured hundreds of African-American juniors – and several white juniors – at his Lynchburg home, where he had a tennis court in his backyard. He initiated the integration of black tennis at the junior level, and ultimately at the highest levels of the game, working as coach, trainer, sponsor and fundraiser – and courageously approaching tournament directors and lobbying for his players’ full participation. He was also publisher of the ATA’s annual program, distributed at the national Championships, and his vehicle for informing the membership of the achievements of his junior players.
The names of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe (both Hall of Famers) and their life achievements will long be remembered in the world of tennis; they were the African-American trailblazers and became champions of the sport through their discipline and perseverance. However it was Johnson’s vision and innovative groundwork that gave Gibson and Ashe – and all future black champions – the training ground and road map to succeed.
A panel of International Tennis Media voted on the Recent Player selectee, where a 75% favorable vote is required for induction. The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, voted on the Master Player and Contributor selectees. To be inducted as a Master Player or a Contributor, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.
Hall of Fame Eligibility Criteria
Recent Player: Monica Seles
Active as a competitor in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP World Tour or Sony Ericsson WTA Tour within five years prior to induction; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.
Master Player: Andres Gimeno
Competitor in the sport who has 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.
Contributors: Donald L. Dell and Dr. Robert Johnson (posthumously)
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.
Establishment in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis and its champions. Tickets for the 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships are available online at tennisfame.com or by calling 866-914-FAME. For more information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the Class of 2009 Induction Weekend, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, please call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.
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