Born: January 14, 1970
in Sydney, Australia
It is no secret that Australia has long been a hotbed of tennis excellence, evidenced by the many Aussies inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Sydney born and raised David Hall joined an illustrious group for his prowess in wheelchair tennis, his records, and accomplishments among the greatest the sport of tennis has witnessed.
Hall was a local star in the junior circuit when in 1986 at age 16, he was struck by a car and had both of his legs amputated. During the first seven months of his rehabilitation, Hall saw a photograph of a wheelchair tennis player and was enamored with – and subsequently driven to learn – the sport. He was a quick study, competing in his first tournament at age 19 – the Albury-Wodonga Classic in 1988. In a 20-year-career canvassing the world competing in wheelchair tournaments, he compiled a phenomenal 632-111 career singles record and a 397-89 mark in doubles. He was the fourth wheelchair tennis player inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
“I played tennis as a kid but after the accident I went through all the phases,” Hall told the St George & Sutherland Shrine Leader. “You go through the ‘why me’ phase. Then the anger phase. At some point you accept it. I don’t think everyone accepts it, but once you move through those different phases you see those doors open again. When I discovered tennis it opened up a whole new world.”
Hall’s drive and determination led him to win all of the major championships at least once and earn the World No. 1 world ranking for six years. Following a legion of fellow Aussies who dominated the Australian Open, Hall won the wheelchair event nine times in a 10-year span (1995-2005). He captured the US Open championship eight times. He was the first non-American to win the US Open Super Series title (five consecutively from 2000 to 2004) and won 19 Super Series during his career.
On international courts, Hall was a major force, winning the Japan Open eight times and the British Open seven times.
In Paralympic competition, Hall won six overall medals competing in singles and doubles as a four-time participant at the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 Games held in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens, respectively. Playing before a partisan crowd in Sydney in 2000, Hall won a Gold Medal in singles and a Silver Medal in doubles. For his accomplishment, Hall received a Medal of the Order of Australia. He won a Silver Medal in doubles and a Bronze Medal in singles at Atlanta (1996), and a Silver Medal in singles and a Bronze Medal in doubles at Athens (2004). He was a member of Australia’s World Cup championship teams in 1994, 1996, 2000, and 2002.
Upon his induction into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015, an emotional Hall said, “To be thought of as being a small part of that history is very humbling for me. Tennis has given me more than I could ever repay and for that I will always be grateful.”
Hall retired from competition in 2006, but remains active in the sport, serving as one of the six Wheelchair Tennis Ambassadors chosen by the International Tennis Federation. He is the current tournament ambassador for the Australian Open, has written for Sports ‘n Smokes Magazine, and has produced training DVDs to promote wheelchair tennis. His website, www.letsrollwheelchairtennis.com is a treasure trove of information of instruction and resources for learning how to play wheelchair tennis.
In 2010, Hall was inducted into the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame, one of his nation’s highest honors. “It was an amazing feeling and made me feel very proud to be an Australian, especially considering we have such a rich sporting history in this country,” Hall said. “For me, the wonderful thing about being inducted is that it recognizes disability sporting achievements, and being recognized felt like a real validation for Paralympic sport and Paralympic athletes.”