Donald Dell

Donald Dell

Class of 2009

Contributor

Career Achievements

Contributions to Tennis

  • Co-Founder of the Association of Tennis Professionals and served as the first General Counsel for 8 years
  • One of the first professional sports agents
  • Founded Professional Services (ProServe), a sports marketing firm
  • Commentator for PBS and NBC 
  • Youngest United States Davis Cup Team Captain to win the Davis Cup
  • Founder of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic
  • Former Vice Chairman and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Board of Directors
  • Member of the USTA Public Relations Committee
  • Member of the United States Davis Cup Selection Committee

Top Ranking    
No.5 (1961)

Davis Cup
Member of the United States Team 1961 and 1963
Captain of the 1968 and 1969 United States Championship Teams
Overall Record: 3-1
Singles Record: 1-0
Doubles Record: 2-1

 

Citizenship: USA Born: June 17, 1938 in Savannah, Georgia Played: Right-handed

Donald Lundy Dell had the athletic ability, education, and background to become one of the most versatile tennis contributors in history. Schooled at Yale University and Virginia Law School, Dell excelled as a player, network commentator, tournament promoter, agent, and most notably as a co-founder of the Association of Tennis Professionals.

Playing intercollegiate tennis at Yale, Dell was a three-time All-American in 1958, 1959, and 1960, reaching the NCAA Singles Final in 1959 and the semifinals in 1960. Starting in 1964 he played on the amateur tour and played until 1969, one year after the Open Era began. Dell played on the United States Davis Cup Team in 1961 and 1963 and Captained winning results in 1968 and 1969 over Australia and Romania, respectively. In 1961, Dell advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. National Men’s Singles Championships and fared well at the Cincinnati Masters; a singles finalist in 1959 and semifinalist in 1958.

Dell’s penchant for the business side of tennis made him of one of the game’s most prolific power brokers and an industry leader, considered alongside Mark McCormack, as the “fathers” of sports marketing and the sports agent business. He was one of the first professional sports agents, representing professional tennis players like Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith among many. In 1970, he founded Professional Services (ProServ), one of the nation's first sports marketing firms. Dell was instrumental in establishing the Association of Tennis Professionals in 1972, a collaborative effort with Jack Kramer and Cliff Drysdale.

Behind the camera, Dell was a familiar face and voice, providing expert commentary for PBS and NBC television in the 1970s and 1980s alongside a star-studded booth consisting of Bud Collins and Barry MacKay.

In 2009, Dell authored Never Make the First Offer, accounts of his acumen in the sports business world. Along with his enshrinement into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Dell was enshrined into the ITA College Hall of Fame in 1993.

Grand Slam Best Results

Singles
U.S. Nationals: QF 1961

Doubles
Wimbledon: QF 1962
U.S. Nationals: QF 1961, 1963

Mixed Doubles
French Championships: SF 1965
Wimbledon: QF 1965
U.S. Nationals: SF 1960, 1963