Martina Hingis, a former world number one and the winner of 15 Grand Slam tournament titles in singles, doubles, and mixed-doubles, has been elected to receive the highest honor in the sport of tennis, enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Joining Hingis in the Class of 2013 will be two co-founders of the ATP, longtime ESPN tennis broadcaster Cliff Drysdale and tennis promoter and industry leader Charlie Pasarell, both of whom have been elected in the Contributor Category. Also in that category, Romanian tennis great Ion Tiriac, has been elected in recognition of his work to grow the sport through roles as an influential player manager and successful tournament promoter. It was previously announced that Australian tennis legend Thelma Coyne Long, winner of 19 Grand Slam tournament titles between the 1930s and 1950s, has been elected in the Master Player Category. The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 was announced today as part of the World Tennis Day festivities, and the new class will be honored tonight in a Center Court presentation at Madison Square Garden during the BNP Paribas Showdown.
"Being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame is tremendous honor," said Hingis. "It is truly a privilege to be part of such an exclusive group of tennis icons. I am looking forward to the enshrinement weekend in Newport and to being welcomed in by the other Hall of Famers."
The Class of 2013 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 13. The ceremony will be a highlight of the Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend, which will also feature the unveiling of museum tribute exhibits for the new Hall of Famers, grand celebratory parties and special events, and an exhibition match featuring great tennis legends. The ceremony and festivities will be held in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event. The 2013 Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend marks the start of a new title sponsorship of the enshrinement festivities by the luxury Swiss watchmaker. Rolex has been the Official Timepiece of the International Tennis Hall of Fame for many years and has a long history of supporting the sport's most important events.
The five new Hall of Famers are joining elite company among the world's best tennis players and industry leaders and innovators. Since 1955, the honor of enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been presented to just 224 people. Hall of Famers hail from 19 countries—a testament to the global appeal of the sport.
Located in Newport, R.I., 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 were the site of the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships, hosted in 1881.
Individuals are eligible for Hall of Fame enshrinement in three categories, Recent Player, Master Player, and Contributor. The International Media Panel, which is comprised of tennis journalists and authors, vote on the Recent Player Category. The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Famers and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, vote on the Master Player and Contributor categories. To be elected in any of the categories, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.
Following are detailed biographies of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2013, grouped by category.
Recent Player: Martina Hingis (SUI)
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 enshrinement; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character. Martina Hingis of Switzerland, was the world number one singles player for 209 non-consecutive weeks and the number one doubles player for 35 non-consecutive weeks. She is in the elite company of Martina Navratilova, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Lindsay Davenport, and Kim Clijsters as one of just five players in history to have held both the singles and doubles number one WTA ranking simultaneously.
Hingis won a total of 15 Grand Slam tournament titles during her career. Her first major title was at Wimbledon in 1996, when she partnered with Helena Sukova to win the doubles title at the age of 15 years and nine months, setting the record as the youngest Grand Slam champion in history.
The following year, 1997, Hingis won the Grand Slam singles titles at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open, and she was the finalist at the French Open. She successfully defended her Australian Open win twice, winning three consecutive titles in 1997, 1998 and 1999. In addition to her five Grand Slam singles titles, Hingis also captured nine major doubles titles and one mixed doubles title. In 1998, she achieved a Doubles Grand Slam.
Hingis won a total of 43 singles titles and 37 doubles titles over the course of her career, and had records of 548-133 in singles and 286-54 in doubles. In 1998, she led the Swiss Fed Cup team to its only Fed Cup final (lost 3-2 to Spain). She captured two WTA Tour Championships in singles (1998 and 2000) and two in doubles (1999 and 2000). In 1997, Hingis was the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year, the WTA Tour Player of the Year, and the ITF Player of the Year.
Born into a successful tennis family, Hingis first picked up a racquet at just two years old and entered her first tournament at age four. At 12-years-old, she won the French Open junior title, becoming the youngest player ever to win a Grand Slam junior title. She turned pro at age 14 and her career quickly took off, with Hingis setting a number of youngest-ever records along the way, including becoming the youngest ever world number one, a feat she achieved on March 31, 1997 at 16 years, six months, and one day.
Hingis first retired from tennis in 2003, at the age of 22, due to injury. She made a comeback in 2006, winning two titles that year and closing the season at world number seven. She won her final title in 2007, before officially retiring. Since retirement, she has been active in World TeamTennis, and in 2011, she partnered with Lindsay Davenport to win the Roland Garros Legends title. Most recently, Hingis has taken on a coaching role, and she is currently working with up and coming teenagers.
Master Player Category: Thelma Coyne Long (AUS)
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, 94, 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 - 1945.
Upon her retirement, Long began coaching junior players in New South Wales. Long was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002.
Contributor Category: Cliff Drysdale (USA); Charlie Pasarell (USA); Ion Tiriac (ROU)
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.
After a successful playing career in the 1960s and 1970s and a leadership role in the launch of the ATP, Cliff Drysdale turned his attention to tennis broadcasting, and for more than 30 years, he has been one of the most respected and appreciated voices of the sport. Drysdale, 71, has been on the air with ESPN since the network's very first tennis telecast- a Davis Cup match between the United States and Argentina on September 14, 1979, just one week after ESPN's debut. In the thirty-plus years since, Drysdale has called all four Grand Slam tournaments and countless important moments in tennis history. Known for his insightful analysis and engaging delivery, Drysdale was named "Best Tennis Announcer" by the readers of Tennis magazine four times. In addition to his television coverage, Drysdale has been a regular contributor to Tennis magazine for more than 15 years. He has played an integral role in sharing the greatest stories of tennis, and has been an influential ambassador for the sport.
Drysdale was a member of the original "Handsome Eight" of World Championship Tennis, the tour that laid the groundwork for a viable men's professional tennis tour, and he was one of the world's top players at the dawn of the Open Era. With his contemporaries, he was a co-founder of the ATP, which was developed to give players a unified voice and in structuring the professional game for the Open Era. Drysdale served as the organization's first president, in 1972 - 1974.
Originally from South Africa, but now a United States citizen, Drysdale was ranked in the year-end world top-10 six times and achieved a career high ranking of world number four. Drysdale was a finalist at the U.S. Nationals in 1965, and he won the U.S. Open doubles title in 1972 with Roger Taylor. He won 35 singles titles and 24 doubles titles, and during his career he notched wins against some of the greatest champions of the sport including Rod Laver, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, and Ilie Nastase. Drysdale was a member of the South African Davis Cup team for eight years.
Today, in addition to his media work, Drysdale continues to take an active role in working to grow interest in the sport. Through his tennis management company, Cliff Drysdale Management, he works with tennis clubs and resorts on tennis programming development, operations, and tennis education programs.
Charlie Pasarell, 69, is most recently best known as the past tournament director, managing partner, and former owner of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., but his contributions as a tennis industry leader have spanned all levels of the sport and have been a driving force in the growth of the tennis for more than 40 years. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Pasarell has been a longtime resident of California.
Pasarell's leadership activities were preceded by a successful playing career in which he achieved the No. 1 ranking in the United States in 1967. He was a member of the United States Davis Cup team for five years, including the championship team in 1968. Pasarell won 18 singles titles, including the U.S. National Indoor Championships in 1966 and 1967. Also in 1966, he was the NCAA Singles and Doubles champion, playing for UCLA.
A focus of Pasarell's tennis career has always been finding ways to utilize the game to give back to the community. At the height of his playing career, in 1969, Pasarell partnered with Arthur Ashe and Sheridan Snyder to launch National Junior Tennis League. The goal of the organization was to have a positive impact on at-risk children by introducing them to tennis to keep them off the streets and to encourage them to stay in school. Today, the program continues to be the largest grassroots tennis program in the United Sates, with more than 950 chapters.
In 1971, as tennis was in the pivotal transition to the Open Era, Pasarell and a group of his fellow players founded the ATP, with the goal of giving players a voice in the structuring the new professional game. Over the years, Pasarell has remained highly active in the leadership of the organization and the development of men's pro tennis. He served as an active board member in the critical early years, from 1971 - 1978. When the Men's International Professional Tennis Circuit became the ruling body of men's tennis from 1986 - 1990, Pasarell served as a tournament representative on the board. When the new ATP World Tour replaced that organization in 1990, Pasarell was once again elected by the tournaments to serve as their representative, and he was re-elected to the position every year for 20 consecutive years, until he retired in 2010.
In 1981, Pasarell took over as tournament director of the ATP World Tour event in the Coachella Valley of California. At the time, the event was struggling and in danger of being removed from the region. Under Pasarell's leadership, the event has grown to be the largest two-week combined ATP and WTA tennis tournament in the world and the most well-attended tennis event after the four Grand Slams. The tournament has grown from 30,000 attendees to more than 370,000, and the television broadcast has grown from reaching 25 million homes to more than one billion homes worldwide. The growth has necessitated new, state-of-the-art tennis facilities, taking the venue from a 7,500-seat stadium court to a 24-court, 54-acre complex including a 16,100-seat main stadium, seven smaller stadiums, and 44 luxury suites.
After more than 30 years working on the event, Pasarell announced his departure from the BNP Paribas Open in 2012. He remains active in tennis industry programs and is currently working on the development of a residential golf community in his native Puerto Rico.
A successful doubles player turned tennis power broker, Ion Tiriac, 73, has been an influential tennis leader in roles ranging from coach to player manager to tournament promoter. In the 1970s, Tiriac and fellow Romanian Ilie Nastase partnered to form a successful doubles team. Tiriac took on a mentor type role in the partnership, and parlayed that experience into a successful career in tennis administration. Tiriac took a sharp, business-like approach to tennis and he worked tirelessly to promote the players, grow the tournaments, and build up interest in the sport through television broadcasts. He went on to manage the careers of top players including Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas, Mary Joe Fernandez, Goran Ivanisevic, and most notably, Hall of Famer Boris Becker, who won five Grand Slam titles while working with Tiriac.
In addition, Tiriac was a promoter and tournament director for numerous events including the ATP World Tour's season-ending Masters Grand Prix, and two of the largest Masters 1000 events, the Italian Open and the Madrid Masters. He is still an active leader on the Madrid Masters, and under his leadership the tournament has grown immensely, and is one of the most well attended annual events in Spain. In addition, he continues to promote tennis in his home country of Romania and is the owner/promoter of the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy, an ATP World Tour 250 event held annually in Bucharest.
As a player, Tiriac was an instrumental part of Romania's Davis Cup team, competing for 15 years, and helping the team advance to the finals three times. In 1970, he partnered with Nastase to win the French Open doubles title.
Known for his no-nonsense demeanor, Tiriac is also highly regarded as a philanthropist and community leader who has the vision and ability to make positive changes happen. In addition to his tennis work, since the fall of the communist government in Romania in 1989, he has worked to rebuild the country's economic and social infrastructure, developing business in banking, real estate, and leading social services initiatives.