The International Tennis Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the development of a new initiative called “Historians-At-Large.”
The Historians-At-Large will be a small group of tennis journalists and historians who will partner with the Hall of Fame to support the organization’s overall mission to preserve and promote the history of tennis.
Hall of Famer John Barrett of Great Britain and American tennis journalist Joel Drucker have been named the first historians to the program, which is intended to grow to include historians with additional expertise, including women and individuals from diverse nations to offer a full scope of the sport’s global history.
In this new role, Barrett and Drucker will serve as spokespeople for the International Tennis Hall of Fame in regard to topics that benefit from historical analysis, such as interviews by other reporters or authors. As Historians-At-Large, Barrett and Drucker will also work with the Hall of Fame to generate content for the Hall of Fame websites and publications, drawing on the Hall of Fame’s vast archives and relationships with some of the sport’s greatest champions. Plans are currently being developed for extensive oral history interviews with the sport’s legends, to be used for preservation purposes, content generation, and other special projects. The program was first announced at the annual celebration of the International Tennis Writers Association during the US Open and it will be developed in the coming months.
“Tennis has a fascinating history, and the mission of the International Tennis Hall of Fame is to promote that history every day. We do so because history is a catalyst. History inspires. Our intent is that by preserving and promoting our sport’s history, we will appropriately celebrates those individuals who created said history and inspire future generations of players and fans,” said Todd Martin, ITHF CEO.
We are appreciative that John and Joel have come on board to develop this initiative with the Hall of Fame. The sport has so many great stories to be told and there is a great community among the dedicated tennis media who can help the Hall of Fame share these stories with the world. We look forward to growing this program and its impact with the support of John, Joel, and additional historians in the future.”
"I'm really looking forward to developing this program with the Hall of Fame and my colleagues in the tennis media community. We have been fortunate to have witnessed so many of the sport's greatest moments and the evolution of its champions and leaders. The act of preserving and sharing those stories for generations to come is a great privilege for me personally professionally, and will hopefully have a positive impact on the future of the game," said Drucker.
Joel Drucker and Todd Martin
About the Historians
During his lifelong tennis career, John Barrett moved seamlessly from player to equipment representative, tournament director to international broadcaster, building on his strengths and gaining stature every step of the way. In recognition of his contributions to the sport over the years, Barrett was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2014. From 1963-2007, Barrett was the tennis correspondent for the Financial Times in London; between 1969 and 2001, he was editor of World of Tennis, the sport’s definitive yearbook. He is the author of three editions of “Wimbledon: The Official History.” As a story-teller Barrett has the rare skill of being equally adept in the written word and in broadcast. He was one of the sport’s premier tennis broadcasters, the indisputable “Voice of Wimbledon,” announcing for the BBC at Wimbledon from 1971-2006. In addition to his work as a member of the media, Barrett spend more than 40 years working for Slazenger, he served in numerous junior tennis development roles, and he was a top player for Great Britain, ultimately serving as captain of the British Davis Cup team. Drawing on all aspects of his tennis career, Barrett is one of the sport’s most distinguished writers and historians.
Joel Drucker, of California, has been writing about tennis since 1982. Over the course of his career, Drucker has written for dozens of print and broadcast outlets, including Tennis Magazine, Tennis Week, USTA Magazine, People, Cigar Aficionado, Los Angeles, Salon, Tin House, The Huffington Post, Tennis Channel, HBO, CBS, TNT and ESPN. His pieces have covered a wide range of topics, from profiles of current stars and legends to humorous experiences, personal memories and events both current and historic. A tennis piece Drucker wrote in 1995 was cited in the annual anthology, Best American Sports Writing. He is the author of the book, Jimmy Connors Saved My Life. Drucker has worked extensively with Tennis Channel since the network’s 2003 debut, starting as co-producer of Center Court with Chris Myers. Since 2007, Drucker has served as story editor, writer and researcher for the network’s coverage of the Grand Slam tournaments, as well as ongoing work on various programs and documentaries. He graduated with high honors from the University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. degree in history.
Additional contributors to the Historian-At-Large program at the International Tennis Hall of Fame will be named in the year ahead.