Ashe and wife to be honored by the ITHF

June 9, 2009

NEW YORK, NY — Arthur Ashe, whose exploits extended far outside the lines of a tennis court and his wife Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe who shared his social consciousness will be recognized with the Eugene L. Scott Award by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, at the 29th annual “Legends Ball” on Friday, September 11, 2009 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. This special night of celebration will also honor a host of tennis luminaries including Rod Laver, who will receive a special Life Trustee Award, and the Class of 2009 – Donald L. Dell, Andres Gimeno, the late Dr. Robert Johnson and nine-time Grand Slam Champion Monica Seles.

“I am honored and humbled to be receiving the Eugene L. Scott Award with Arthur,” said Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe who will be presented the award at the Legends Ball by Scott’s wife Polly. “Gene made tremendous contributions to the sport of tennis throughout his life and his influence will not soon be forgotten. As he was a long-time friend of Arthur’s, this strikes a very personal chord for me as well.”

The Eugene L. Scott Award, presented annually since 2006, honors an individual who embodies Scott’s commitment to communicating honestly and critically about the game, and who has had a significant impact on the tennis world. Scott founded Tennis Week magazine and wrote the most widely read and well-respected column about the sport, “Vantage Point” until his death in 2005. Previous recipients of the award were: John McEnroe (2006); Andre Agassi (2007); and Billie Jean King (2008).

“Arthur and Jeanne have used their voices, which have been amplified through the game of tennis, to change the world in so many ways that it’s fitting to present them as one with the Eugene L. Scott Award,” said Christopher E. Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “Humanitarians like Arthur and Jeanne are few and far between and we should recognize them for the contributions they have made to help enact change.”

Arthur Ashe, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985, upheld the qualities that distinguished him as a champion both on and off the court. He showed that it was possible to compete ferociously while maintaining personal honor and sportsmanship. He was an outspoken protestor of apartheid in South Africa and one of the most influential figures in the civil rights movement in the USA. His actions and words helped create change. His exploits on the court were legendary as well. He is still the only black male to win a major singles title — three of them in fact—the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. He followed a stellar amateur career of 35 titles with 33 singles titles in a sterling 11 year professional career that included a #1 ranking in 1968 and ’75. His 10 Davis Cup appearances are fourth all-time, and as the coach for five years, he piloted the U.S. to victories in 1981 and ’82.

The Legends Ball, held annually since 1980, brings the tennis world together to celebrate the history of the game and honor some of the sport’s great contributors all while raising money for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. A legendary line-up of tennis greats will also be in attendance, including more than a dozen Hall of Famers and tennis dignitaries. In addition to honoring Rod Laver, the Class of 2009 and presenting the Eugene L. Scott Award, the International Tennis Hall of Fame will also present the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award (TBA) and will recognize several other people and organizations for their contributions to the sport.

Guests can also bid upon once-in-a-lifetime experiences and unique items in a silent and live auction. In the past, auction items have included hit sessions with tennis luminaries Pete Sampras, Jim Courier and Pam Shriver; ticket and travel packages to Grand Slam events; a meet and greet with Tiger Woods; golf at legendary courses like Winged Foot; and autographed tennis memorabilia from Roger Federer, James Blake and Andre Agassi.

For tickets, sponsorship opportunities, or to learn more about the event, call 212-843-1740 or e-mail [email protected]. 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.