An Interview With Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi

CHRISTOPHER CLOUSER: Good afternoon, everyone. With me here besides Andre and Anne Marie is Mark Stenning, who’s CEO of the Tennis Hall of Fame. I thought we’d take a minute with Tony Trabert. Tony is the president of the Tennis Hall of Fame. He also chairs the enshrining nominating committee, and it always comes up as we are fortunate enough to announce an inductee, the process. So Tony, will you take just a minute and go through what you and your committee do?
TONY TRABERT: Sure. We have people that are proposed for the Hall of Fame. We go to that group of people, and if we think they are worthy we put them in a book that we call. We have recent player category, we have master player category, a contributor category and now a wheelchair category, and we have an enshrinement nominating committee at Wimbledon each year, at which time we talk about the recent players we think should be on the ballot.
We are 21 on that committee, international, and then we vote for any of the master players we think should be on and then contributors. And then it goes to — we have various panels that vote, and some of the same — some people are on both voting panels, some are not, and you have to get 75 percent of the votes that are returned to be elected.
CHRISTOPHER CLOUSER: Tony Trabert was elected in 1970 and serving as our president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. We are here in Las Vegas at Agassi Prep. We had a wonderful ceremony here with 600 students who now represent kindergarten through the 12th grade. It’s my fourth time back at the school, and every time I come I’m a little more uncomfortable because I know I could never get in here. It’s a wonderful place, and it was an emotional thing.
I said to the group, 25 years ago today there was an announcement that went out of the Tennis Hall of Fame that announced the selection of Arthur Ashe to the Tennis Hall of Fame, and that July 25 years ago, Andre was 15, I was much older, let’s just say way out of college, and I think if Arthur was here today, not just because of the tennis accomplishments, and I don’t think Jeanne would mind, who serves on our board, I think Arthur would say today he’s met his match. He’s met his match on the court, his match as a human being, as a philanthropist, a guy that was committed to improving people’s lives on top of committing every tennis accolade there is.
That’s what we told the students today and then Andre took some wonderful questions and said how important this was to him. I’m sorry you all weren’t there, but it was a wonderful ceremony. So Andre has been nice enough after being worked over by these 600 students and the press to take some questions today. Is there a question that you all would like to address to Andre?

Q. You had a great career obviously, a lot of incarnations during your career. I was just curious how you want to be remembered, what do you want your legacy to be in tennis?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I was hoping you didn’t notice those tips and turns through my career. You know, this is such a special moment for so many reasons, but mostly for me today because it was done here at the school and so profoundly connects my past and my future. You know, tennis was a vehicle that gave me my life’s work.
You know, tennis allowed me the opportunity to impact people for a few hours when I was playing, and then my career has given me an opportunity to impact people for a lifetime if not generationally. And my hope, like in tennis, was to leave the sport better off than it was when I entered it. That was always my hope as it relates to life and legacy. My hope is to leave everybody in my life starting with my own family and then my extended family, which is the school, better off for having me a part of their lives.

Q. One of the things that fascinates me so much about your story and came through so well in your book is this sort of mixed message if you turn back the clock to the days when your dad was firing balls at you out on the court and you were feeling like you really missed out on the, quote-unquote, normal childhood. And then you came up through the game, and now here you are going into the Hall, and all these incredible achievements that have happened in your life, the prep school, et cetera, et cetera, happened because of the tennis. I wonder if you could reflect on that a little bit. Was it worth it, all the sacrifices that you made during your childhood?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I’ll answer that with the short answer, which is yes. It was worth it because we all have our cross to bear in life, so to speak, and while mine were certainly unique in some cases, it did teach me a lot about myself. I learned a lot about myself, probably at a slower rate in some cases, but in others at a faster rate. And at each intersection of my life I was always striving to understand myself better.
And I had what I call a hate-love relationship with tennis, not a love-hate. I went from resenting a life that was chosen for me to at 27 years old after being No. 1 and then falling to No. 141 chose to take ownership of my life and to find a reason to do what it is I do, and then that’s when I started the school. And I built this school, and I all of a sudden felt like I was connected to a team. All of a sudden tennis felt like a team sport. I felt like I was playing for something but I was also playing — I was connected to something but I was also playing for something much larger than myself.
And it then gave me my life’s meaning, my purpose. It then gave me my wife, and as a result, I’m so grateful for where I find myself for many reasons, but starting with the fact that I have this opportunity to change these children’s experiences, these children’s expectations, and ultimately their lives.

Q. If I could just follow up, in the tennis business, of course, we always talk about what it takes to create a champion, what the ideal tennis parent is, so now looking back would you say that the way that he raised you — are you saying some of that was really necessary, maybe some of that pushing is what you need to go through to get to all you’ve achieved?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I can’t honestly say that you need to go through that. You know, when you look at other people’s experiences, I don’t know how transparent they are. You look at a Federer who seems to be so comfortable on the court and comfortable in his own skin, and to do things so gracefully and so easily, and hopefully he has a healthy upbringing in the game.
My father made a lot of decisions that I wouldn’t make, unquestionably, and I represented him not as abusive, but I represented him as very intense. Along with that intensity came intense love, came intense generosity, came intense us against the world, and also came intense pride. And there’s something very profound about a young man feeling like his dad is proud of him, and I always felt that. He used to introduce me as the No. 1 player in the world, future No. 1 player in the world, so there was a lot that I represented about him. I think it was a loving, honest portrayal.
But do I think you need to make the decisions he made to succeed? Absolutely not. You need nature and you need nurture. You need to be born with a gift, no question; it’s too competitive to be the best in the world at anything to not be born with a certain gift. But you also need it nurtured so that that gift can flourish, and in my dad’s case nurturing meant thousands of tennis balls and intensity, but in other cases I don’t think it needs to mean that.

Q. When we were doing the television, we all thought that the last Grand Slam tournament you would probably win would be Wimbledon because it was on grass. We thought the first one that you would probably win would be the French on clay, and it was just the opposite. Do you have any thoughts on that?
ANDRE AGASSI: You know, I have to keep the trend up, the conflicts in my life. Tony, it’s good to hear your voice. Your voice, you have left an indelible mark on me over the years, but hearing your voice, I realize how indelible your voice is in my mind and my connection to the game, so nice to hear your voice, Tony.
You know, I really felt like I could have won the French first. I agreed with you then and now that it probably should have been and that Wimbledon probably should have been my last, if at all. But the game changed shortly after I came into it, and once I had a player that could take offense from both wings, they could exploit the fact that I treated clay courts like a hard court.
For me I’ve loved playing on clay for the first few years of my career because it was just more time and more opportunities in a point to just beat somebody up because all I did was take the ball early and make him run and I never had to worry about defense. But when I lost out on those first two opportunities and then I started playing the likes of Courier, who was very aggressive on both wings against me, or Bruguera, who moved well and could generate that kind of spin with both sides and open up the court, I quickly realized that clay was not, like most Americans, my best surface.
So my hopes for Roland Garros changed really early in my career, which is why it makes it so powerful that after coming back from 141, 29 years old, that I found myself with that opportunity to win it again, and it speaks to how scared I was walking out if that finals that day thinking that this tournament would elude me for the rest of my life.
Wimbledon on the other hand was a surface that rewarded a person who could take charge of a point early. So winning Wimbledon surprised me until I’d played it, and I don’t mean in ’87 when I lost first round to Leconte; I mean when I went back and got to the quarters and had two sets to one and two breaks on David Wheaton to play Becker and Stich in the semis and finals who I both had a heavy head-to-head record on.
I started to really believe I can win here because if you can get start off well on grass it was hard for a player to recover. Grass played very fast, and the return was just shot-making and I felt comfortable there. So it didn’t surprise me how comfortable I felt at Wimbledon, but it did surprise me how quickly I got uncomfortable with pairs.

Q. Most athletes come to their second career after their first one is over, and you were in the rare position of finding it while you were still playing. Why do you think that happened to you, and has that been a benefit that you were able to overlap your kind of ongoing career with your future career?
ANDRE AGASSI: Well, I think it happened to me because I played until I was 36. You know, had I faded off into the sunset in 1997, which I wish you understood as closely as I do just how close I was, you know, I’m not sure I would have had something to go towards. But my spirit to fight on and to give myself the permission to quit but to not choose it gave me the fortitude to start to envision what I really want for myself. And tennis was such a great opportunity to have that mission become a reality.
I don’t know why others don’t, other than any sport is all-consuming. It’s a short window and a short career, and mine was almost a short career. But the fact that I continued to push myself and make myself better gave me the time to make sense of a few things and then gave me the age and perspective to not lose out on that opportunity.

Q. You gave such a beautiful speech when your wife was inducted into Hall of Fame, and I was wondering if you can share any of her thoughts or comments on your acceptance.
ANDRE AGASSI: You know, it’s interesting because we’re going through the same thing just in reverse. I got to experience watching her go through it and knowing her so well and how understated she is. I would never suggest that she did not want to go through it, but I would just say that she was — she doesn’t need it to be who she is. And those around her really were proud for her, and the love that I have for her allowed me to really understand fully just what it means to be in the Hall of Fame because I wanted it for her even though she didn’t necessarily crave it for herself.
Now that she went through it, she feels differently, but now she gets to see it through the perspective of somebody she cares for deeply, and she wants it for me, even though I tend to say it’s a bit nerve-wracking. I can’t hardly believe that it’s actually happening, and I don’t feel like I need it to continue my mission in life.
But seeing how I felt for her allows me to embrace this even more than I would have because so many people that have been around me that care for me want it for me, and I know that because of how I felt for her.

Q. After your last match against Becker in Ashe Stadium, it was really kind of a Lou Gehrig type moment when you addressed the crowd in New York and there was a lot of emotion. I wonder if you could not only reflect on that moment but also what emotions might come up when you’re addressing the crowd in Newport?
ANDRE AGASSI: Sure. The thing with New York, that was — that had very little to do with missing a tournament, missing a career. It had to do with a connection to people that I was so grateful they felt to me. That’s why that was emotional, because they were connected to me and I was just quite frankly thankful that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way.
In Rhode Island, I don’t know what to expect. I think it’s probably doing yourself a disservice to expect anything one way or the other. I’ve seen others go through it, and it never ceases to amaze me how surprised they are by the occasion. So I’m going to probably for one of the rare times in my life will just allow myself to be surprised, you know? But I will put a lot of thought behind it because I think if you care about anything you do, and I will make my best attempt to communicate what tennis has meant to me, what it means to others, and what it means to certainly a lot of children’s lives here in North Las Vegas.
CHRISTOPHER CLOUSER: So July 9th is our induction in Newport, Rhode Island. Obviously you all are invited. Andre is the sole inductee in the recent player category. We will be announcing one additional person who has been elected into the contributor’s category. We’ll be announcing that Thursday of next week from Melbourne.
Andre loves his school, and we’re happy to be here. He walked in and said, “Now, the school is not paying for this phone call, are they?” For the record, it is not. We want to thank you for joining us, and I want to thank Andre for a terrific day and a terrific announcement.

Tennis Greats and Celebrity Fans to Attend 2010 Legends Ball to Benefit Tennis Hall of Fame

NEW YORK, NY, September 8, 2010 - While US Open action heats up on court for finals weekend, the tennis industry will go glam off the court at the star-studded Legends Ball, the premier social event of the US Open, which serves as a fundraiser for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. Tennis legends, industry executives and VIPs, and celebrity tennis fans will gather to honor the heroes of the game and celebrate its history at the extraordinary event which will be hosted on Friday, September 10 at 6:30 pm at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

More than 20 tennis Hall of Famers will be in attendance including Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Tracy Austin, Pam Shriver, Gigi Fernandez, Mark Woodforde, Stan Smith, Ken Rosewall, Russ Adams, Butch Buchholz, Maria Bueno, Owen Davidson, Donald Dell, Jan Kodes, Brad Parks, Nancy Richey, Vic Seixas, Fred Stolle, and Tony Trabert. In addition, celebrity tennis fans including The Real Housewives of New York City cast members Ramona & Mario Singer and Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford will attend. Honorary Co-Chairs attending include Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour; Jean Gachassin, President, French Tennis Federation; Lucy S. Garvin, Chairman of the Board and President, United States Tennis Association; Tim Phillips, Chairman, All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club; and Phillip H. Scanlan AM, Consul General of Australia, New York. Former tennis star Vijay Armritraj will emcee the evening and LPGA champion Annika Sorenstam and Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe will present awards.

This special night of celebration will honor a host of tennis luminaries including Martina Navratilova, who will receive the Eugene L. Scott Award and the Hall of Fame Class of 2010 – which features the extraordinary doubles teams of Gigi Fernandez & Natasha Zvereva and Todd Woodbridge & Mark Woodforde; mixed doubles champion Owen Davidson; Derek Hardwick, an influential tennis administrator; and Brad Parks, the first ever wheelchair tennis inductee, who is also one of the pioneering founders of the wheelchair game. Mercedes-Benz will be presented with the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award.

In addition to rubbing elbows with tennis legends and industry leaders, guests can bid on once-in-a-lifetime experiences and unique items in a silent and live auction. More than 65 unique items will be on the block ranging from exclusive access at all four Grand Slams in 2011 to luxury Caribbean vacations, as well as unique opportunities such as hit sessions with tennis greats, celebrity meet and greets, tickets to major sporting events, autographed sports memorabilia and more. Auction items may be previewed online at: www.biddingforgood.com/tennisfameauction
For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or to learn more about the event, call 212-843-1740, visit www.tennisfame.com or e-mail legendsball@hgnyc.com. The mission of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, based in Newport, RI, is to preserve the history of tennis, inspire and encourage junior tennis development, enshrine tennis heroes and heroines and provide a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide.

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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, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners, such as BNP Paribas. 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.

Andre Agassi Leads the 2011 Hall of Fame Class

NEWPORT, R.I., USA, September 1, 2010 - Andre Agassi, former world No. 1, eight-time Grand Slam champion, and one of the most remarkable athletes in history, has been nominated to receive the highest honor available in the sport of tennis, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Agassi is the sole nominee in the Recent Player Category. Joining Agassi on the ballot in the Master Player Category are Thelma Coyne Long, who dominated Australian tennis in the 1930s -1950s, and Christine Truman Janes, a British star of the 1950s and 1960s. Nominated in the Contributor Category are influential tennis promoter and administrator Mike Davies and Fern Lee “Peachy” Kellmeyer, who has played a vital role in the growth of women’s tennis.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Enshrinee Nominating Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, it is a pleasure to recognize Andre Agassi, undoubtedly one of the most talented and iconic athletes of all time, with our sport’s highest honor,” said Tony Trabert, International Tennis Hall of Fame President and 1970 Hall of Fame Inductee. “We are also pleased to honor both Thelma Coyne Long and Christine Truman Janes, who achieved remarkable success on the court. Mike Davies and Peachy Kellmeyer are true trailblazers of the sport who worked hard to implement their ideas, and it is thanks to their efforts that we are able to enjoy tennis on such a grand, global scale today. On behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, I extend congratulations to the nominees and our gratitude for their many contributions to the game of tennis.”

Voting for the 2011 ballot will take place over the next several months, culminating with an announcement in early 2011 to reveal the Class of 2011 Inductees. The Class of 2011 Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 9, 2011 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The Ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event.

Tickets for the tournament and Induction Ceremony will go on sale in October, with a pre-sale for International Tennis Hall of Fame Members beginning on October 13 at 10:00 a.m. and the General Public ticket sale beginning on October 26 at 10:00 a.m. Individuals interested in becoming a member or purchasing tickets should call 866-914-FAME (3263) and/or visit www.tennisfame.com.

Recent Player: Andre Agassi
Eligibility criteria for the Recent Player Category is as follows: active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP or WTA Tour within five years prior to induction; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.

Andre Agassi, 40, of Las Vegas, Nevada, held the No. 1 singles ranking for 101 weeks, and is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, as well as one of the premier athletes of his generation. Agassi achieved a career singles record of 870-274, winning 60 titles, including four at the Australian Open, two at the US Open, and one victory each at the French Open and Wimbledon. Within his 60 tournament wins, he captured 17 Masters 1000 events. In 1990, he won the season-ending ATP World Tour Championships. Agassi earned a Gold Medal at the 1996 Olympics, by taking the Singles title in Atlanta. A member of two winning American Davis Cup teams (1990, 1992), Agassi achieved a career record of 30-6 in Davis Cup play for the United States. Agassi’s passionate performances, non-traditional apparel and style, and extraordinary skill made him one of the most iconic athletes in the history of the game. He is credited for reviving the popularity of the game and inspiring a generation of tennis players.

In 1999, Agassi came back from two sets down against Andrei Medvedev in the final to win the French Open, putting him in the elite company of Rod Laver, Don Budge, Fred Perry and Roy Emerson, as the only five men at that time to have achieved a Career Grand Slam. (Roger Federer later joined them with his victory at the French Open in 2009.) This win also made him the first male player in history to have won all four Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces (clay, grass, and hard courts), a tribute to his adaptability.

Agassi turned professional in 1986 at the age of 16, and made his way into the top-100 in his first professional year, finishing the season ranked No. 91. He won his first Tour-level title in 1987, and closed out his second professional season ranked No. 25 in the world. In 1988 his year-end ranking was No. 3 and he surpassed $2 million (US) in career prize money, after playing in just 43 career tournaments – the fastest anyone in history had reached that mark. Agassi enjoyed a long, successful career through 2006, during which time he earned more than $30 million (US) in prize-money, fourth only to Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Rafael Nadal to date.

In June 2003, at the age of 33, Agassi became the oldest player to hold the No. 1 singles ranking, a position that he held onto for twelve weeks. Agassi retired from professional tennis on September 3, 2006, after losing in the third round of the US Open. He delivered a memorable retirement speech and was honored with an eight-minute standing ovation from the crowd.

During his career and into retirement, Agassi has been a dedicated philanthropist. In 1994, he founded the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which is devoted to helping at-risk youth in Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. Since the inception of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education $137 million dollars has been raised to benefit the mission of the Foundation, including $85 million from the Grand Slam for Children fundraising event. In 1995 and 2001, Agassi was awarded the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to one ATP World Tour player in acknowledgement of outstanding humanitarian contributions.

In 1997, he established the Andre Agassi Boys & Girls Club in Las Vegas, which supports 2,000 children throughout the year and boasts a world class junior tennis team and basketball program. Additionally, the club utilizes a rigorous system that encourages a mix of academics and athletics.

In 2001, Agassi opened the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free public charter school in Las Vegas’ most at-risk neighborhood. The school utilizes advanced technology, smaller class sizes and extended school hours, among other tactics, to combat lowered academic expectations and to foster a sense of hope among this community’s most challenged children. In 2009, the school graduated its inaugural class a 100% acceptance rate for higher education.

In 2007, Agassi joined forces with Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Jeff Gordon, Mia Hamm, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mario Lemieux, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken, Jr. to found Athletes for Hope. The non-profit organization helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and aims to inspire the sports community, especially athletes, to make a difference and to inspire others to pass their passion for philanthropy from generation to generation.

Agassi is married to retired professional tennis player and 2004 Hall of Famer Stefanie Graf, and they reside in Las Vegas with their two children.

Master Player Category: Thelma Coyne Long, Christine Truman Janes
Eligibility criteria for the Master Player Category is as follows: Competitors in the sport who have been retired for at least 20 years prior to consideration; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.

Thelma Coyne Long, 91, of Sydney, Australia, had a remarkable career of more than 20 years (1935-1958), in which she captured a total of 19 Grand Slam tournament titles, including championships in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. In 1952, she achieved a career-best ranking of No. 7. That same year, she completed an Australian triple by sweeping the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at the Australian Championships.

In May 1941, during World War II, Long joined the Red Cross as a transport driver and worked in Melbourne, Australia. In February 1942, she joined the Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) and rose to the rank of captain in April 1944. In recognition of her efforts throughout World War II, she was awarded both the Australian War Medal and Australian Service Medal for 1939-45.

Upon her retirement, Long began coaching junior players in New South Wales. Long was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.

Christine Truman Janes, 69, of Essex, England, UK, was ranked among the world’s top ten from 1957-1961 and again in 1965, attaining a career-best ranking of No. 2 in 1959. Janes made it to the semifinals or better at all four Grand Slam events. In 1959, she captured the French Championships Singles title, and in 1960, she won the Australian Championships Doubles title with 1978 Hall of Fame Inductee Maria Bueno.

Janes was the British junior champion in 1956 and 1957. She made her Wimbledon debut in 1957, at age 16, and reached the semifinals, where she lost to Althea Gibson.

Janes was a member of the victorious British Wightman Cup team in 1958, 1960, and 1968, and was a team member from 1957-1963, 1967-1969, and 1971. In 1958, she was heralded for a remarkable victory when she defeated reigning Wimbledon champion Althea Gibson in the Wightman Cup and helped bring the Cup back to Great Britain after 21 consecutive defeats by the United States. Additionally, she was a member of the British Fed Cup team in 1963, 1965 and 1968.

In 2001, Janes was honored as a Member of the British Empire and was awarded an MBE for services to sport. Janes worked as a commentator for BBC Television and Radio for 31 years.

Contributor Category: Mike Davies, Fern Lee “Peachy” Kellmeyer
Eligibility criteria for the Contributor Category is as follows: 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.

Mike Davies, 74, originally from Swansea, Wales, UK, is a tennis promoter and administrator whose immense contributions range from introducing the colored tennis ball and colored apparel to the sport to forging some of the first, highly successful television/tennis contracts, paving the way for the future of the sport.

From 1968-1981, Davies served as Executive Director of World Championship Tennis, when he 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. In 1981, Davies moved on to serve as the Marketing Director and then Executive Director for the Association of Tennis Professionals (later known as the ATP).

In the late 1980’s, Davies 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.

A quiet, but impactful behind-the-scenes personality, Davies is still active in the sport, more than 50 years after launching his tennis career, as he currently serves as CEO of the Pilot Pen tennis tournament in New Haven, Connecticut.

In addition to his significant contributions to the tennis industry, Davies achieved success as a player as well. He was ranked as the No. 1 player in Great Britain three times (1957, 1959 and 1960). He played for the British Davis Cup team for six years and accumulated a winning record of 24-13. Davies was a doubles finalist at Wimbledon in 1960, which was the last time that a male player from Great Britain reached the finals at Wimbledon in either singles or men’s doubles.

Fern Lee “Peachy” Kellmeyer, 66, of Wheeling, West Virginia, has been a driving force behind the development of women’s tennis for the majority of her life and, in many ways, dedicated her life to laying the foundation for generations of young women to achieve success. Kellmeyer became involved in the game as a talented junior player, went on to be a star collegiate athlete, and then launched an administrative career in tennis. She has been instrumental in the growth of the game and has played a critical role in improving rights for female athletes. Kellmeyer currently serves as Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Operations Executive Consultant. She is also a member of the ITF Fed Cup Committee and oversee the WTA’s alumni program to ensure that past players and tournament directors remain engaged in the Tour that they helped build. She has held an executive position with the WTA Tour since 1973, when Tour founder Gladys Heldman selected her to serve as the Tour’s very first employee and director.

During her career with the WTA Tour, Kellmeyer has led the Tour’s operations, player and tournament relations and has been at the center of all major policy decisions. During her tenure, prize money on the WTA Tour has increased from $309,000 in 1973 to more than $85,000,000 in 2010, and the number of WTA Tour events has increased from 23 domestic tournaments to 53 events in 33 different countries. Attendance at WTA Tour events has increased dramatically with nearly 5 million in-stadium fans annually, and television exposure has increased with hundreds of millions of homes receiving more than 6,000 hours of international TV coverage on an annual basis.

Simultaneously with her efforts to build women’s tennis, Kellmeyer has been a tireless fighter for women’s rights in sports. When she was the Physical Education Director at Marymount College in Boca Raton, Florida in 1966, Kellmeyer spear-headed a lawsuit that ultimately led to the dismantling of a National Education Association rule that had prohibited athletic scholarships being awarded to female athletes at colleges across the nation. The landmark case paved the way for Title IX and contributed greatly to the increase of female athletes in intercollegiate athletics. Additionally, Kellmeyer was a driving force behind the WTA Tour’s campaign to achieve equal prize money for women and men. In 2009 she was honored with the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Golden Achievement Award for her important contributions to tennis in the field of administration and long outstanding service to the sport.

On court, Kellmeyer began winning junior titles as early as age 11. By the age of 15 she was competing at what is now the US Open, and she was the youngest player at the time to be invited to such a prestigious event. She went on to be a tennis star at the University of Miami, where she became the first woman to compete on a Division 1 men’s team. As an adult, Kellmeyer was ranked nationally in the both singles and doubles, and was a competitor at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Voting
A panel of International Tennis Media will vote on the Recent Player nominee. A 75% favorable vote is required for induction. The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, will vote on the Master Player and Contributor nominees. To be inducted as a Master Player or a Contributor, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.

The Class of 2011 Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 9, 2011.The Ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event.  Tickets for the tournament and Induction Ceremony will go on sale in October, with a pre-sale for International Tennis Hall of Fame Members beginning on October 13 at 10:00 a.m. and the General Public ticket sale beginning on October 26 at 10:00 a.m. Individuals interested in becoming a member or purchasing tickets should call 866-914-FAME (3263) and/or visit www.tennisfame.com.

Since 1955, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 218 people representing 19 countries. 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. The Hall of Fame offers an extensive museum that chronicles the history of the sport and honors the game’s greatest legends. Surrounding the Museum are 13 historic grass tennis courts that date back to 1880 and are open to the public, which play host to the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour tournament, and the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in July. The facility hosts numerous additional public events year-round. To learn more, visit tennisfame.com or call 401-849-3990.
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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, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum was recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame in 1986 by the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is supported by Official Partners, such as BNP Paribas. 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.