Class of 2010 Honors Doubles Stars and Leaders in Wheelchair Tennis and the Open Era movement
Posted March 01, 2010
Newport, RI -
Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and Tony Trabert, Hall of Fame president, have announced the newly elected Class of 2010. Two powerful doubles teams will be inducted in the Recent Player category with the election Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, the legendary Australian doubles team who amassed 61 ATP doubles titles including 11 Grand Slam championships; and Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva, who won 38 titles together, including 14 Grand Slam events. In the Master Player category, 12-time Grand Slam tournament champion Owen Davidson has been elected. In the Contributor category, Brad Parks, the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis – a game that is now played in nearly 100 countries – will be the first ever wheelchair tennis inductee. Also 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.
“In recognition of their competitions and contributions, the Class of 2010 is a tribute to the game of doubles and to wheelchair tennis. The Recent Players and Master Player achieved an incredible record of doubles wins. In the Contributor Category, we are pleased to honor individuals who led two important evolutions of the game through the creation of wheelchair tennis and the initiation of the Open Era,” said Christopher Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “We are delighted to honor these professionals who have truly earned a place in the Hall of Fame.”
The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 10, 2010 in Newport, Rhode Island, during the final weekend of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (July 5 – 11, 2010), an ATP World Tour event. Tickets for the Class of 2010 Induction Ceremony are available now on www.tennisfame.com or by calling 401-849-3990 or 866-914-FAME (3263).
Inclusive of the Class of 2010, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has honored 218 tennis legends representing 19 different countries.
Together Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, known as “The Woodies,” earned a record 61 ATP doubles titles, including 11 majors. 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 38, currently holds the ATP record for most doubles titles (83) in Open Era history. He spent 204 weeks at No. 1 throughout his career. With a career doubles record of 782-260, Woodbridge reached the doubles finals of 31 professional tournaments. 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 43, 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 Slams in men’s doubles as well as in mixed doubles.
Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva won more women’s doubles titles and Grand Slam women's doubles championships together than any other team since Martina Navratilova/Pam Shriver. They won six consecutive Grand Slam tournaments from 1992 Roland Garros through 1993 Wimbledon (Navratilova/Shriver won eight consecutive Grand Slam titles from 1983 Wimbledon through 1985 Roland Garros).
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 – 94). Over the course of her career, Fernandez won 17 major doubles titles, including five consecutive French Open titles (1991 –1995), 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). She is the mother of twins, Karson and Madison and the founder of Baby Goes Pro, a first-of-its-kind DVD series that introduces children to sports using an endearing animated character who encourages children to lead active lifestyles, build character and begin a lifelong love of sports.
Natasha Zvereva (Minsk, Belarus), age 38, is the fifth most prolific champion of her time in terms of Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, with 18 victories to her name. Additionally, her 20 Grand Slam titles overall ranks her equal 14th all-time. She won three of the four Grand Slam majors in doubles, in the same year, four times (1992 – 94, 1997) and won non-calendar year doubles Grand Slams in 1992 – 93 (six straight titles) and 1996 – 97 (four straight titles). She won the Australian Open mixed doubles twice with Jim Pugh (1990) and with Rick Leach (1995). In her singles career, Zvereva won four titles and was ranked among the Top 10 players in the world in 1988 – 89 and 1994 – 95, holding a career-high ranking of No. 5 (May 22, 1989).
Owen Davidson, age 65 (Melbourne, Australia), is one of just 12 people who have won a personal Grand Slam 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 personal Grand Slam in 1967, as Davidson captured the Australian, French, US Championships and Wimbledon. “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.
Davidson was a valued member of five championship Australian Davis Cup teams from 1962 – 1967. 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 65, is an active competitor on the senior tour.
Brad Parks (San Clemente, CA) age 52 is the pioneering founder of wheelchair tennis, not only in the United Sates, but also throughout the world. 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 sport grew quickly as a result of this high exposure level, and the first wheelchair tennis tournaments were held in 1977. This success motivated Parks to found the National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis (NFWT) as the organizing body for the sport. The purpose of the NFWT was to promote physical and psychological well being among the disabled regardless of age, sex, creed, or disability extent. This was accomplished through the presentation of instructional clinics, exhibitions and competitive tournaments and sports camps. 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, setting the standard for others to follow. Today the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour is comprised of 157 tournaments in 41 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 Dorset farmer and 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: Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde; Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva
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: Brad Parks, Derek Hardwick
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
Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame 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 was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.
Anne Marie McLaughlin