Nominees named for induction to the ITHF
September 7, 2011
NEWPORT, R.I. — Jennifer Capriati, one of America’s most dominant tennis players in the 1990s and early 2000s; Russia’s first world No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and Brazilian tennis superstar Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten have been nominated to receive the highest honor available in the sport of tennis, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. All three are nominated for the induction Class of 2012 in the Recent Player Category. Also in the Recent Player Category, Wheelchair Tennis superstar and three-time Paralympic medalist Randy Snow has been nominated posthumously for induction. In the Master Player Category, Thelma Coyne Long of Australia, who captured 19 Grand Slam titles between the 1930s and 1950s, and 1975 US Open champion Manuel Orantes, a Spanish star of the 1970s-1980s have been nominated. Three individuals have been nominated for their immense contributions to the sport. Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who has guided 10 ATP and WTA stars to world No. 1 status; influential tennis promoter and administrator Mike Davies; and Eiichi Kawatei, who has played a vital role in the growth of tennis in Asia have all been nominated in the Contributor Category. The 2012 Nominees were announced live on Tennis Channel earlier today. The 2012 Nominees were announced live on Tennis Channel earlier today. Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, Bill Macatee and Justin Gimelstob welcomed Kuerten and International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum Chairman Christopher E. Clouser to the Tennis Channel Plaza on the grounds at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the US Open to make the announcement.
“Only a small, elite group of athletes ever achieve the status of being world No. 1 in their sport. Jennifer Capriati, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Guga Kuerten and Randy Snow are among this elite group. For their impressive rankings, along with Grand Slam titles, Olympic medals and other great contributions to the sport of tennis, I’m very pleased to announce that they have been nominated to receive our sport’s highest honor, induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Tony Trabert, International Tennis Hall of Fame President and 1970 Hall of Fame Inductee.
Trabert added, “We are also pleased to honor both Thelma Coyne Long and Manuel Orantes, who achieved remarkable success on the court. Nick Bollettieri’s dedication to tennis has given us many of the game’s greatest champions, and Mike Davies and Eiichi Kawatei, are true trailblazers of the sport, 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 Board of Directors and the Enshrinee Nominating Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, I extend congratulations to the nominees and our gratitude for their many contributions to the sport of tennis.”
Voting for the 2012 ballot will take place over the next several months, culminating with an announcement in early 2012 to reveal the Class of 2012 Inductees. The Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2012 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 fall 2011, with a pre-sale for International Tennis Hall of Fame Members, followed by the General Public ticket sale. Individuals interested in becoming a member or purchasing tickets should call 866-914-FAME (3263) and/or visit www.tennisfame.com.
Jennifer Capriati, 35, of New York, New York, turned pro in 1990 at the age of 13, launching a successful career marked by world No.1 status, an Olympic gold medal, three Grand Slam titles and several “youngest-ever” records. Capriati cracked the world top-10 in her first season on tour, and in October 2001, she became the world No. 1, a position she held for a total of 18 weeks. Capriati was a member of the championship U.S. Fed Cup team in 2000.
In her first season on the WTA Tour, Capriati reached the finals of two of her first three pro events, losing to Hall of Famers Gabriela Sabatini and Martina Navratilova. That same year, she made her Grand Slam debut at the French Open, advancing to the semifinals before falling to eventual champion Monica Seles. She also captured her first career title in her first season on tour, defeating Zina Garrison at Puerto Rico. Throughout the season, she became the youngest player to reach a tour final, the youngest player to reach the semifinals at the French Open, the youngest seed ever at Wimbledon and the youngest player to qualify for the season-ending championships. Over the next few years, Capriati established herself as a consistent top-10 player. In 1991, she reached the semifinals at the US Open and at Wimbledon, where she defeated Navratilova in the quarterfinals-the legend’s earliest exit in 14 years. In 1992, Capriati captured the Olympic gold medal at the Barcelona games, defeating both the second-seeded Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario and the top-seeded Stefanie Graf. Capriati took a break from tennis in 1994-1995 and 1997-1998, staging a successful comeback in the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons.
At the 2001 Australian Open, Capriati defeated top seed and world No. 1 Martina Hingis in straight sets to win her first Grand Slam title. Having entered the tournament seeded No. 12, she was the lowest seed to ever win the title, a record that still stands today. She entered the French Open seeded No. 4, and defeated No.1 seed Hingis in the semifinals and No. 12 seed Kim Clijsters in the final to win her second consecutive Grand Slam title. She was the only player that year to reach at least the semifinals of all four of the Grand Slam tournaments that year.
In 2002, No. 1 seed Capriati defeated the sixth-seeded Amélie Mauresmo and the fourth-seeded Kim Clijsters en route to her second consecutive final at the Australian Open, where she once again faced Martina Hingis. In brutally hot weather, Capriati fought back from 6-4, 4-0 down and saved four championship points to eventually prevail 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2, to claim her third (and final) Grand Slam title. The match was widely regarded as one of the greatest comebacks in tennis history, and it was named one of the ten best matches of the decade by Tennis magazine. The dramatic match earned Capriati the 2002 ESPY Award for Comeback Player of the Year, for which the other nominees were Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.
Capriati stopped playing at the end of the 2004 season, having compiled a career record of 430-176 and having won 14 career singles titles and 1 doubles title.
Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 37, of Sochi, Russia, was the first Russian player to hold the No. 1 singles title, a position he held for six weeks. Known as a hard-working player with remarkable talent in both singles and doubles, Kafelnikov is one of just eight players in the Open Era to win at least 25 singles titles and 25 doubles titles. In all, he won 26 singles titles and 27 doubles titles. In 1996, his fourth full year on tour, he became the first person since John McEnroe in 1989 to finish in the world top-5 in both singles and doubles.
Kafelnikov captured Grand Slam tournament titles in singles at the 1996 French Open and the 1999 Australian Open. Additionally, he won three French Open doubles titles (1996, 1997, 2002) and one doubles title at the US Open (1997), partnered with Daniel Vacek for all four wins, except the 2002 French Open, which he won with Paul Haarhuis. Kafelnikov is the last man in history to have won both the singles and the doubles titles at the same tournament, which he did at the 1996 French Open.
In addition to drawing national pride as a world No. 1 player, Kafelnikov represented Russia well throughout his career. In 2000, he won the Olympic gold medal in singles and in 2002, he helped lead the Russian team to Davis Cup victory.
With career earnings of more than $23 million, Kaflenikov ranks No. 7 on the list of highest prize money earners on the ATP World Tour.
After he stopped competing in tennis, Kafelnikov played golf on the European PGA Tour on several occasions. He has also been a successful poker player, competing at the World Series of Poker.
Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten, 34, of Florianopolis, Brazil, was the world’s No. 1 player for 43 weeks. Kuerten is a three-time Grand Slam tournament champion, capturing the French Open titles in 1997, 2000 and 2001. In addition, he reached the quarterfinals at the French Open in 1999 and 2004, and was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 1999, at the US Open in 1999 and 2001, and at the Sydney Olympics in 1998.
With Kuerten’s 1997 win at Roland Garros, he became the first Brazilian to win a Grand Slam singles title since Hall of Famer Maria Bueno’s 1966 U.S. Nationals title. En route to the victory he overcame three past champions of the event, and became the second-lowest ranked Grand Slam champion at the time (No. 66).
In 2000, he became the first South American to finish No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973). The No. 1 year-end position came down to final match of season for the first time in men’s tennis history, which Kuerten won with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Andre Agassi, breaking a eight-year reign of No. 1 finishes by Americans.
Kuerten’s career best season was 2001, in which he won six titles (five on clay) in eight finals, including his third French Open victory. Kuerten compiled a career record of 358-195, and captured a total of 20 singles titles and 8 doubles titles.
Inspired by his late brother, Guilherme, who had cerebral palsy, Kuerten opened the Institute Guga Kuerten in 2000 to help disabled people. Since its inception, it has assisted more than 40,000 people in over 168 Brazilian cities. While he was playing, Kuerten donated all of his prize money from one event each year to support people challenged by disabilities. Kuerten was awarded the ATP World Tour’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2003 and in 2010, he was presented the the Philippe Chatrier Award by the International Tennis Federation.
Thomas “Randy” Snow of Terrell, Texas, was a talented, determined athlete throughout his life. As a teenager, Snow was a ranked tennis player in the state of Texas, but when a farming accident left him a paraplegic at the age of 16, he refused to let the physical challenges fade his competitive spirit and athletic talent. Snow committed himself to wheelchair sports, to inspiring athletes worldwide, and to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. He earned Paralympic medals in two sports and won 22 Grand Slam tournament titles in Wheelchair Tennis. He was arguably one of the world’s greatest athletes and unquestionably the greatest Wheelchair Tennis player of his time. Randy Snow died November 19, 2009 in El Salvador while volunteering at a wheelchair tennis camp.
As a student at the University of Texas, Snow formed a wheelchair basketball team under the direction of Jim Hayes, the university’s wheelchair sports director. Soon after, he began wheelchair racing and also began training as a wheelchair tennis player, eventually establishing himself as the best wheelchair tennis player in the United States.
In 1984, the Summer Olympics added a men’s 1500 meter wheelchair race as an exhibition event, which was to be the first Paralympic event to appear before a large audience. Snow went into heavy training, relocating to Houston, Texas, to train on the same track as Carl Lewis. Snow received a silver medal, and the crowd gave the athletes a standing ovation at the end of the exhibition. Snow went on to win gold medals in the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona for singles and doubles tennis, and at the 1996 Atlanta Games he was a member of the bronze medal-winning wheelchair basketball team. In 2004, Snow became the first Paralympian to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
Snow was ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Tennis Federation in 1991. He traveled the world competing in Wheelchair Tennis tournaments, and he played an integral role in growing the sport. He conducted wheelchair tennis camps in nations ranging from Bolivia to Thailand, and he developed, managed and taught at the “Randy Snow Wheelchair Tennis Camps” across the United States. In addition, he developed the USPTA certification for Wheelchair Tennis.
Off the tennis courts, Snow served as president of a motivational speaking company called NO XQs, Inc. (“no excuses”), where he spread the message that people should focus on discovering options and finding new opportunities, and that in order to succeed, people must have a 100% able-bodied mind.
Snow is the second Wheelchair Tennis player in history to be nominated for induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Brad Parks, the pioneering founder of the sport, was inducted in 2010.
Thelma Coyne Long, 92, 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.
Manuel Orantes, 62, of Granada, Spain, reached world No. 2 ranking in 1973, and he remained in the year-end world top-10 for five consecutive years. Orantes defeated Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors to capture the 1975 US Open title, and he was a finalist at the 1974 French Open. In all, Orantes won 33 titles, and has a career record of 647-247. He has a career doubles record of 298-155 and won 22 titles.
Orantes was an integral member of the Spanish Davis Cup team from 1967-1980, and is tied for the most number of years played (14) with Sergio Casal and Manuel Santana. Orantes’ Davis Cup career resulted in 60 wins and 27 losses, including 39 singles victories. In 2009, Orantes was presented the Davis Cup Award of Excellence by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation. He was a member of the victorious Spanish team that won the 1978 World Team Cup.
Nick Bollettieri, 80, originally from North Pelham, NY but a long-time Florida resident, is widely regarded as one of the most influential people in the world of tennis. The legendary coach has an unparalleled record of discovering and developing champions of the sport. Bollettieri has coached ten world No. 1 players including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles, and Boris Becker. In addition, he has worked with the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, Tommy Haas and many more. Four of his players have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame-with more likely to follow. After more than 30 years of coaching, at 80 years old, Bollettieri is still active on the tennis courts for more than 10 hours a day, six days a week. Some of the anticipated next generation stars he has worked with include Ryan Harrison and Kei Nishikori.
In 1978, he founded the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy (NBTA), the first full-time tennis boarding school that combined intense training on the court with academic curriculum. In 1987, Bollettieri expanded his vision by partnering with IMG to turn the academy into a multi-sport training facility, now known as the IMG Academies. Today, the facility spans almost 300 acres and it offers several other sports academies in addition to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.
In addition to the elite pro athletes whom Bollettieri has trained, thousands of talented tennis players have come through the academy and succeeded at levels, notably NCAA student athletes, who have often been able to parlay their tennis success to academic scholarship.
Bollettieri has always been active in efforts to support the growth of the game and to engage children with tennis to show them that discipline and hard work can provide opportunities through the sport. Over the years, Bollettieri has donated more than $23 million in Academy scholarships, with many of the recipients going on to play collegiate or professional tennis. In addition, he is active with numerous organizations that have worked to engage underprivileged youth with the sport. With his friend, Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe, Bollettieri founded the Ashe-Bollettieri Cities Tennis program, which launched in Newark, New Jersey in the late 1980s. The program introduced thousands of youth to the sport and helped hundreds to achieve athletic or academic scholarships. The program was reproduced in other cities, and became known as the Arthur Ashe Safe Passage Foundation. It continues to grow today, under the management of the USTA. Bollettieri also sits on the Board of Directors for Inner City Tennis, which uses tennis as a platform to teach responsibility, respect, teamwork and other character building elements.
Over the years, Bollettieri has served on numerous USTA committees focusing on player development and growth of the game.
Last week, Bollettieri was inducted to the Tennis Industry Hall of Fame.
Mike Davies, 75, originally from Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom, is a tennis promoter and administrator whose immense contributions include 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 New Haven Open at Yale, 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.
Eiichi Kawatei, 78, originally from Ashiya City, Japan, has been nominated for his contributions to tennis as a leader in the development and promotion of the sport in Asia. For more than 25 years, he has supported national associations, players, officials, coaches and many official international events (juniors through the pros). He served as Tournament Director for the Japan Open and Asian Open from 1977-1986. Kawatei has been highly active with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for many years, having served as a member of the Committee of Management, a member of the ITF Board of Directors, Vice President, Olympic Games Technical Director, and as Chairman of the Junior Competitions Committee. He has been officially designated an ITF Honorary Life Vice President. Kawatei served as a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee from 1991-2003. He was President of the Asian Tennis Federation 1989-2003, and Secretary General from 1978-1989. With the Japanese Tennis Association, he served as Executive Board Member (1977-1993), and since 1993 he has been Vice President.
Kawatei has been recognized for his contributions to tennis by his peers many times. He is the recipient of the Golden Olympic Ring Award (presented by the IOC), the Chinese National Sports Federation Honorable Award, and the 2005 Golden Achievement Award, presented by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation.
In addition to his administrative contributions, Kawatei has been an active member of the international tennis media, serving as an international tennis photographer, as a tennis commentator on Japanese TV, and he has contributed to numerous books and magazines as a journalist.
As a player, Kawatei was a nationally ranked junior and played for Doshisha University (1954-1955), where he returned as coach (1960-1968, 1990-1994).
The Class of 2012 Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2012.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 fall 2011, with a pre-sale for Members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame taking place first, prior to the General Public sale. 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 220 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.