Class of 2010 Induction: Doubles Stars and Leaders in Wheelchair Tennis and the Open Era movement
– Hall of Fame Induction: Saturday, July 10, 12:30 p.m. –
– Doubles stars dominate the Recent Player and Master Player categories, with the selections of Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva, Todd Woodbridge & Mark Woodforde, and Owen Davidson. In the Contributor category, wheelchair tennis creator Brad Parks has been selected for induction, along with Derek Hardwick, who was instrumental in the creation of Open tennis. –
– New exhibits honoring the Class of 2010 are now on display in the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. –
NEWPORT, R.I., U.S.A., July 1, 2010 – The International Tennis Hall of Fame will present the highest honor available in tennis to seven legends of the game on Saturday, July 10 at 12:30 p.m. The Induction Ceremony will take place on the historic grass courts of Bill Talbert Center Court at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The Class of 2010 honors some of the most remarkable doubles players in the history of the game, along with two individuals who were instrumental in shaping the history and growth of tennis.
Elected in the Recent Player category will be Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva, who won 38 titles together, including 14 Grand Slam events; and Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, the legendary Australian doubles team who amassed 61 ATP doubles titles including 11 Grand Slam championships. In the Master Player category, 12-time Grand Slam tournament champion Owen Davidson has been elected. In the Contributor category, Derek Hardwick, past chairman of the British Lawn Tennis Association who was instrumental in the transition to the Open Era, will be inducted posthumously. Also in the Contributor category, Brad Parks, the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis, will be the first ever wheelchair tennis inductee.
“We are delighted to honor these professionals who have made a remarkable impact on tennis, both on and off the courts. Gigi, Natasha, Todd, Mark and Owen achieved extraordinary results at all levels of competition, proving themselves to be true champions and legends in tennis. Brad excelled on the courts as well, and he developed an entirely new aspect of the game for the world to enjoy. Derek’s vision and leadership abilities were instrumental in elevating the game to the global sport that it is today,” said Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “All seven of these individuals have left a positive impact on the game of tennis, and we are pleased to recognize their successes and contributions.”
Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has honored 218 people representing 19 countries, inclusive of the Class of 2010. The International Tennis Hall of Fame features a comprehensive tennis Museum that commemorates the heroes and heroines of the game and chronicles the history of the sport from its 12th century beginnings through present day. Five new exhibits paying tribute to the Class of 2010 have recently been installed and will be showcased for one year.
Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva: Tennis’ Yin and Yang chronicles the women’s success despite their cultural differences and features unique pieces such as the Adidas sports bras that the women famously wore when they won the 1992 US Open. In The Woodies: Australia’s Dynamic Duo, the Museum explores the remarkably successful partnership and camaraderie between the pair, as featured in a scrapbook on display which was made by a fan during the height of The Woodies’ career. In Owen Davidson: Australia’s Esteemed Statesman, the exhibit reviews one of the most successful doubles careers in tennis history with commentary by fellow Australian legend Fred Stolle. Brad Parks: Wheelchair Tennis Pioneer highlights how Parks’ leadership crafted the evolution of a game that has become one of the most successful wheelchair sports in the world, and showcases Parks’ 1995 Gold Medal from the Paralympic Games in Barcelona. Finally, Derek Hardwick: Visionary for Open Tennis traces the remarkable story of how Hardwick reshaped the tennis world, enabling the access and widespread interest in the game that we know today.
As part of the ceremony, a presenter selected by the inductees will offer a formal speech focusing on the personal attributes and the professional career of the individual. Woodbridge and Woodforde will be presented by Ray Ruffels, who coached the duo for 8 years. Fernandez and Zvereva will be presented by Hall of Famer and fellow doubles star Pam Shriver. Davidson will be presented by Hall of Famer Fred Stolle. Hardwick will be presented posthumously by Hall of Fame President and 1970 Hall of Famer Tony Trabert. Parks will be presented by Bob Shafer, a retired Wilson Sporting Goods executive who supported Parks as a sponsor.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 Induction Ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event to be held July 5 – 11, 2010. Tickets for the Class of 2010 Induction Ceremony and the tournament are available now on www.tennisfame.com or by calling 866-914-FAME (3263).
Together Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, known as “The Woodies,” earned a record 61 ATP doubles titles, including 11 majors. The pair held the record for the most doubles wins in ATP history, until it was tied by Mike and Bob Bryan in May of this year. They were the first team to win five straight Wimbledon titles, and the only team in the Open Era to win at least one Grand Slam doubles title for six consecutive years. Their 11 Grand Slam titles as a team are an Open Era success story, and are second only to John Newcombe / Tony Roche’s record of 12. The duo was named ATP Top Doubles Team five times (1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000). The Woodies won two Olympic Medals – Doubles Gold (1996) and Doubles Silver (2000), and were hailed as the Australian Davis Cup’s “Best Doubles Team” with a record of 14-2. In addition, both Woodbridge and Woodforde held singles rankings within the top 20.
Todd Woodbridge OAM (Sydney, Australia), age 39, currently holds the ATP record for most doubles titles (83) in Open Era history. He spent 204 weeks at No. 1 throughout his career, and has a career doubles record of 782-260. He holds the Australian Davis Cup record for the most years played (14 years); most doubles wins (25); and was a member of the winning team in 1999 and 2003.
Mark Woodforde OAM (Adelaide, Australia), age 44, holds 67 doubles titles, 4 singles titles and 5 mixed doubles crowns. He held down the No. 1 ranking for 84 weeks during his career and upon retirement in December 2000, he was holding the No. 1 individual ranking plus the No. 1 team ranking with Woodbridge. As a ten-year member of the Australian Davis Cup team (1988, 1989, 1993 – 2000), he participated in three finals (1993, 1999, 2000), helping clinch the trophy in 1999. Woodforde won each leg of the Grand Slam in men’s doubles as well as in mixed doubles.
Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva amassed an impressive 14 Grand Slam titles together. Their passion and skill on the court was remarkable, and it is hard to find a pair who showed as much enthusiasm and love for the game as these two outstanding players. They hold the second-longest Grand Slam doubles title streak in Open Era history, winning six in a row from the French Open in 1992 through Wimbledon in 1993 (second to Martina Navratilova / Pam Shriver’s record of eight). The pair also completed a non-calendar year Grand Slam that ran from the 1992 French Open to the 1993 Australian Open. Fernandez and Zvereva were named the WTA Doubles Team of the Year on four occasions: 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1997.
Beatriz “Gigi” Fernandez (San, Juan, Puerto Rico), age 46, was considered one of the world’s best doubles players, capturing 68 career titles in women’s doubles and attaining the No. 1 ranking several times in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1995. She earned Olympic gold medals at both the 1992 and 1996 games. She won at least one Grand Slam title every year from 1988 – 1997, except 1989, and for three straight years won three of the four Grand Slam doubles titles in the same year (1992 – 1994). Over the course of her career, Fernandez won 17 major doubles titles, including five consecutive French Open titles (1991 –1995, 1997), five US Open titles (1988, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996), four Wimbledon titles (1992 – 1994, 1997) and two at the Australian Open (1993, 1994). A member of the U.S. Fed Cup Team, she helped lead her team to victory twice (1990, 1996).
Natasha Zvereva (Minsk, Belarus), age 39, has 20 Grand Slam titles to her name, 18 of those
coming in women’s doubles. She won three of the four Grand Slam majors in doubles, in the same year, four times (1992 - 1994, 1997) and won a non-calendar year doubles Grand Slam in 1992-93 and again in 1996 - 1997 (four straight titles). She won the Australian Open mixed doubles twice, once with Jim Pugh (1990) and once with Rick Leach (1995). In her singles career, Zvereva took home four titles and was ranked among the Top 10 players in the world in 1988 - 1989 and again in 1994 - 1995, holding a career-high ranking of No. 5. Zvereva owns the Belarus Fed Cup team records for most total wins (35) and most singles wins (24).
Owen Davidson (Melbourne, Australia), age 66, is one of just 13 people who have won a calendar-year Grand Slam at the Tour level in the history of tennis. His 15-year career is highlighted by 12 Grand Slam titles. His partnerships with Lesley Turner Bowrey and Billie Jean King produced a Grand Slam as Davidson captured the Australian, French, US Championships and Wimbledon in 1967. “Davo”, as he is known, went on to win the Australian Open Doubles with Ken Rosewall in 1972, and the US Open doubles with John Newcombe in 1973. Davidson won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon and the US Championships/Open four times at each tournament. His four Wimbledon triumphs made him the male player who won the most mixed doubles crowns at the All England Club. A career singles highlight came in 1966 at the Wimbledon semi-finals, when he narrowly lost a thrilling five-set match to eventual champion Manolo Santana. With his whipping southpaw serve, Davidson, age 66, is an active competitor on the senior tour.
Brad Parks (San Clemente, CA) age 53, is the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis worldwide. During an amateur freestyle skiing competition, he suffered a disabling injury when he was 18. He began experimenting with tennis as a method of therapy, and in 1976, wheelchair tennis was born.
The first wheelchair tennis tournaments were held in 1977 and interest in the sport grew quickly. This success motivated Parks to found the National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis (NFWT) as the organizing body for the sport. As more athletes became involved, the Wheelchair Tennis Players Association (WTPA) was formed, giving players more of a say in the governance of tournaments, clinics and expansion of the game.
Parks started the first international wheelchair tennis event, the US Open, held in Irvine, California. He was the tournament chairman for 18 years. Today the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour is comprised of more than 157 tournaments in more than 40 countries, exceeding a total of $1,500,000 in prize money. In 1985, as a result of increased international presence at the US Open, the World Team Cup was started with five nations, not including women or quad players. Today this prestigious Fed Cup/Davis Cup-style team event has been contested by 52 different nations in its 25 year history, and boasts men, women, quads and junior competitions.
Parks is also credited with spreading the sport internationally by holding clinics throughout Europe, Asia and the Pacific. In 1988, the International Wheelchair Tennis Federation (IWTF) was formed to govern this growing international sport with Parks as the inaugural president. He served on the Management Committee for many years and was a driving force of international wheelchair tennis. In 1998, the IWTF was fully integrated into the International Tennis Federation, making it the first disabled sport to achieve such a union on the international level.
Today almost 100 countries offer wheelchair tennis programs, and the sport is played at all four Grand Slams.
Derek Hardwick (London, England, 1921–1987) was instrumental in one of the most important developments in tennis history with the creation of Open tennis in 1968. Two Englishmen – Herman David, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, and Hardwick, along with the American Robert J. Kelleher, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, joined in achieving this goal over the opposition of the president of the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) and of the entrenched tennis establishment of Europe and America.
A former British doubles champion, Hardwick rose to the position of chairman of the British Lawn Tennis Association in 1968. As chairman, he took the bold step forward by voting affirmatively to make Wimbledon, and all other British tournaments, “Open” in 1968, against the will of the ILTF. Hardwick and Kelleher banded together in their respective nations to ultimately force the ILTF to change its policies on “amateur” and “professional” tennis so that all nations would benefit. In an emergency meeting held in Paris in 1968, the ILTF finally agreed. Hardwick also served the game as chairman of the Men’s International Professional Tennis Council (1974 – 1977), the governing body of men’s tennis prior to the advent of the ATP Tour. He was also the president of the International Tennis Federation (1975 – 1977).
Hall of Fame Voting
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: Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva; Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde
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: Owen Davidson
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: Derek Hardwick, Brad Parks
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.
About the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners, such as BNP Paribas. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.