Tennis Industry Exec Mike Davies to be Inducted in 2012
In recognition of his immense contributions to growing the sport worldwide, Mike Davies, who currently serves as CEO of the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the Class of 2012. An influential, behind-the-scenes executive in the tennis world, Mike has had a 40+ year career in tennis promotion and administration, with achievements ranging from forging the first, highly successful television/tennis contracts and negotiating major sponsorships to introducing the colored tennis ball to the game.
"Mike Davies was a true trailblazer for the sport of tennis, and we should all be grateful for his forward-thinking mentality and perseverance to build and grow the professional game," said Hall of Famer Tony Trabert, who serves as Chair of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. "On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Enshrinee Nominating Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, I extend congratulations and gratitude to Mike for all that he has accomplished for tennis."
Mike has been elected to the Hall of Fame in the Contributor Category. The remaining members of the Class of 2012, who are elected as Recent Players and Master Players, will be announced in the month ahead. The Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony will be hosted on July 14 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I. The ceremony is held in conjunction with the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event. Tickets for that day include seats for the Induction Ceremony and the tournament semi-finals, and tickets are available now on tennisfame.com or by phone at 866-914-FAME (2363).
Class of 2012 - Click to learn more about an inductee!
While the rich history of tennis dates back hundreds of years, the game as we know it today- world-class tournaments, compelling, professional players, and dynamic international telecasts - is really just over fifty years old. The elevation of pro tennis from its conservative, pre-Open Era days to the exciting, global sport we all enjoy today is a result of the vision and hard work of dedicated behind-the-scenes leaders, notably Mike Davies.
After a successful pre-Open Era playing career, Mike’s 40+ year career in tennis promotion and administration officially began in 1968, when he became Executive Director of World Championship Tennis. It was a pivotal time in tennis, and Mike hit the ground running with new ideas to make professional tennis better for players, more enjoyable for fans, and financially viable. While leading the WCT, Mike was at the forefront of staging tournaments and selling sponsorships and television rights, thereby creating a platform for professional tennis to expand into large stadiums and major cities. The group contracted top professional players including Rod Laver, Cliff Drysdale, Roy Emerson, Tony Roche, and Stan Smith. In 1970, Mike launched the first multi-million dollar pro tour, which consisted of 20 tournaments throughout the world, and culminated in a final that aired on NBC– the very first network broadcast of tennis. The airing drew an extraordinary 20 million viewers, and interest in tennis surged. The telecast was just one of Mike’s many innovations that are still in play today.
For example, when matches were running too long, Mike mandated a tie-breaker—the first time this was used on the professional circuit.
Difficult to see the ball and the players on a telecast? Mike introduced yellow tennis balls and colored apparel.
Pace of play too unpredictable? New rules of 30 seconds between points and 90 seconds between games were instituted.
And when the networks made it difficult for companies to advertise, Mike sold Wilson on court branding rights – forging the way for growth in sports broadcasts and sponsorships.
In 1981, Mike moved on to serve as the Marketing Director and then Executive Director for the Association of Tennis Professionals (later known as the ATP). The ATP was almost bankrupt at the time, and when Mike left after three years they had more than $1 million in assets. He helped consolidate the players' pension plan and created more jobs for players with bigger draws, more tournaments and increased prize money.
In the late 1980's, Mike served as General Manager of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). He is widely credited with revitalizing the Davis Cup, and putting the event back on firm financial footing during his tenure with the ITF, ultimately increasing the future value of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup around the world.
Today, after more than 40 years working in tennis, Mike still has his eye on the ball – he currently serves as CEO of the New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, a WTA event.
Not just a mover and shaker behind the scenes, Mike was also an on-court star in his day. Originally from Swansea, Wales, Mike was Britain’s No. 1 ranked player in 1957, 1959, and 1960 and he was a member of the British Davis Cup team. In 1960 he reached the men’s doubles final at Wimbledon with Bobby Wilson, marking the last time a British male has been in the final of Wimbledon's men's singles or men's doubles.
For recognizing the immense potential tennis offered as a professional sport, along with the dedication and drive to make his visions a reality, we salute 2012 Hall of Famer Mike Davies, an influential contributor, effective innovator, and a man who has truly shaped the history of our sport.
Eligibility & Voting
Election to the International Tennis Hall of Fame is based on the all of an individual's achievements and accomplishments in the sport, and it is the highest honor a person can receive in tennis.
Inductees to the International Tennis Hall of Fame are elected in the categories of Recent Player, Master Player and Contributor. Criteria considered for the Contributor Category includes 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. To be eligible for Hall of Fame induction in the Recent Player Category, the individual must have been active as a competitor in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration, but must not have been a significant factor on the ATP, WTA or Wheelchair Tennis Tours within five years prior to induction; and must hold a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level. Consideration is given to integrity, sportsmanship and character. The same criteria applies to the Master Player Category, except that it is for competitors in the sport who have been retired for at least 20 years prior to consideration.
The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, vote on the Master Player and Contributor nominees. A panel of International Tennis Media vote on the Recent Player nominee. To be inducted in any category, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.
Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis. Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 220 people from 19 countries.
The Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony will be hosted on July 14 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, R.I. The ceremony is held in conjunction with the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event. Tickets for that day include seats for the Induction Ceremony and the tournament semi-finals, and tickets are available now on tennisfame.com or by phone at 866-914-FAME (2363).
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, providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide, and enshrining tennis heroes and heroines with the highest honor in the sport of tennis- induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In 1986, the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis, officially recognized the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum as the sport's official Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on a six-acre property that features an extensive Museum chronicling the history of the sport and honoring the 220 Hall of Famers; 13 grass tennis courts and an indoor tennis facility that are open to the public and to a club membership; a rare Court Tennis facility; and an historic 297-seat theatre. Annually in July, the venue hosts the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the Van Alen Cup, an ATP World Tour event. The buildings and grounds, which were constructed in 1880 by McKim, Mead & White to serve as a social club for Newport's summer residents, are renowned for their incredible architecture and preservation. The facility was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners including BNP Paribas, Campbell Soup Company, Chubb Personal Insurance, Kia Motors and Rolex Watch USA. 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.
Photo by Russ Adams.