At today's Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Final, the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) honored Czech Republic Fed Cup Captain Petr Pala with the 2015 Fed Cup Award of Excellence. Pala received the award on court during the 2015 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final in Prague, which is being contested between Czech Republic and Russia. The award was presented by ITF President David Haggerty and Hall of Famer Jane Brown Grimes, who is also President Emerita of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The ITF and the ITHF annually present the Fed Cup Award of Excellence to an individual who represents the ideals and spirit of the Fed Cup competition.
Pala has captained the Czech Republic Fed Cup team since 2008. Under his leadership, the team has been a dominant force in the competition, winning three titles in the last four years with victories in 2011, 2012, and 2014, as well as this year’s run into the finals again. In his first year as Captain, Pala guided the team to win their way back into the World Group, and they have remained in this top tier group ever since.
“As Captain of the Fed Cup team, Petr Pala has fostered a shared spirit of team work, unity, and determination among the Czech Republic team that has resulted in tremendous success. His leadership embodies the spirit of competing as a team for one’s country, and we are pleased to salute his achievements by presentation of the Fed Cup Award of Excellence,” said ITF President David Haggerty.
Petra Kvitova, a member of Pala’s three Fed Cup Final winning teams, said, “It's a great surprise for our team to have our captain win this special award. Petr is the best, he knows how to assemble the perfect team, nominating the right players and making sure that we are all in a good mood. I’m really happy for him.”
International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin, who was a member of the 1995 Championship United States Davis Cup team, commented, “Having an effective, inspiring leader in position as team captain is hugely important in Fed Cup and Davis Cup competition. Petr Pala has clearly committed himself to the success of the Czech Republic Fed Cup team, and as a result, the team has added three Fed Cup titles to the nation’s impressive tennis history. On behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, we are pleased to recognize Petr’s great work and dedication with the Fed Cup Award of Excellence.”
Prior to his Fed Cup role, Pala was a successful doubles player on the ATP World Tour in the early 2000s. He achieved a doubles ranking of world No. 10 and he won six titles over the course of his career. In 2001, he reached the men’s doubles final at the French Open, partnered with his countryman and brother-in-law Pavel Vizner.
Past recipients of the Fed Cup Award of Excellence have been Helena Sukova of the Czech Republic in 2014; Corrado Barazzutti of Italy in 2013; Jana Novotna of the Czech Republic in 2012; Anastasia Myskina of Russia in 2011; Billie Jean King of the United States in 2010; Mary Joe Fernandez of the United States and Silvia Farina of Italy in 2009; Miguel Margets of Spain in 2008; Lea Pericoli of Italy in 2007; Sabine Appelmans of Belgium in 2006; Françoise "Frankie" Dürr of France in 2005; Olga Morozova of Russia in 2004; Larisa Savchenko of Latvia in 2003; Virginia Wade of Great Britain in 2002; and Spain's Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Conchita Martinez in 2001.