Agassi headlines ballot for ITHF Class of 2011
September 1, 2010
NEWPORT, R.I. — 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.
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.