ITHF names Class of 2015 nominees
September 4, 2014
NEWPORT, R.I. – French tennis greats Amelie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce, both two-time singles champions at Grand Slam tournaments, have been nominated to receive the highest honor in tennis- enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Two-time Roland Garros champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain, and Russia’s Yevgeny Kafelnikov, winner of two singles titles and four doubles titles at Grand Slams, join Mauresmo and Pierce in the Recent Player Category of nominees. David Hall of Australia, a six-time ITF World Champion has been nominated in the Recent Player Category for Wheelchair Tennis. Longtime tennis industry leader Nancy Jeffett has been nominated in the Contributor Category in recognition of her lifetime commitment to the growth of the sport, particularly in the areas of women’s professional tennis and junior tennis development.
The Class of 2015 nominees were officially announced today, live on Tennis Channel from the US Open. Hall of Fame President Stan Smith joined Tennis Channel’s Brett Haber and Tracy Austin (Hall of Fame Class of 1992), on the air to make the official announcement.
“Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce, Sergi Bruguera, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and David Hall are among the most inspiring and successful athletes in the history of our sport, and it is a pleasure to recognize their accomplishments with the nomination to receive tennis’ highest honor, enshrinement into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Of course, the success of tennis as a whole is dependent upon committed leaders like Nancy Jeffett who are willing to jump in and inspire growth, and so I’m glad to share the news that she is among the 2015 nominees for the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Smith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 and now serves as the International Tennis Hall of Fame President and Chair of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. “I extend my congratulations to the nominees and our gratitude for their many contributions to the sport.”
Voting for the 2015 ballot will take place over the next several months, culminating with an announcement early next year to reveal the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015. The Recent Player Voting Group, which consists of tennis journalists and authors, will vote on the Recent Player Category, while a Voting Group with expertise in Wheelchair Tennis will vote on the ballot for that area. The Master Player and Contributor Voting Group, which consists of Hall of Famers and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, will vote on the Contributor Category. There are no nominees in the Master Player Category this year, which recognizes individuals who have had distinguished level of achievement, but have not been a significant factor in the past 20 years. To be inducted in either category, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.
The Class of 2015 Enshrinement Ceremony will be hosted on Saturday, July 18, 2015 during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour event.
Since 1955, the honor of enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been given to 240 people representing 21 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.
From winning the sport’s most coveted titles to inspiring the future stars of the game, the nominees for enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015 have all made significant and lasting impacts on tennis. Following are detailed biographies of the nominees, grouped by category.
Recent Player Category: Amelie Mauresmo, Mary Pierce, Sergi Bruguera, Yevgeny Kafelnikov
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 World Tour, WTA Tour, or Wheelchair Tennis Tour within 5 years prior to enshrinement; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character.
Amelie Mauresmo, 35, of France, held the world No. 1 ranking in singles for a total of 39 weeks and was within the world top-5 for 191 weeks.
In 2006, she was the singles champion at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, defeating Justine Henin in both finals. At Wimbledon, Mauresmo rallied back from losing the first set 2-6 to overcome Henin and win the title, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Mauresmo was also a finalist at the 1999 Australian Open, where she was an unseeded player and scored upsets over three seeded players, including then world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, to earn the spot in the final.
Mauresmo was the Olympic silver medalist at the 2004 Games in Athens. In 2005, she won the WTA Tour Championships.
Bolstered by a powerful yet elegant one-handed backhand and remarkably strong net play, Mauresmo won 25 singles titles and compiled a career singles record of 545-227. In doubles, Maursemo won three titles and was ranked within the world top-30.
Mauresmo was the first French woman to achieve the world No. 1 ranking since the computer rankings began in the 1970s. She was a dedicated member of the French Fed Cup team, and holds the record for most singles wins with an impressive 30-9 record. In 2012, she took on the role of Fed Cup captain for the French team.
Since retirement, Mauresmo has stayed active in the sport as a coach and she is currently coaching Andy Murray. In recent years, she has been on the coaching staff for Michael Llodra, then world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, and Marion Bartoli, during her 2013 Wimbledon victory.
Mary Pierce, 39, of France, won four Grand Slam tournament titles over the span of her career- two in singles, one in doubles and one in mixed doubles. She achieved a career high ranking of world No. 3 in both singles and doubles.
Pierce captured her first major title at the 1995 Australian Open, where she defeated Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario. In 2000, Pierce won both the singles and doubles titles at Roland Garros. She defeated Conchita Martinez in the final, becoming the first French woman to claim the title since Frankie Durr in 1967. She partnered with Martina Hingis to win the doubles title as well. Pierce’s fourth major title came at Wimbledon in 2005 where she partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi to win the mixed doubles title. She was the finalist at the 1994 French Open, where she defeated then world No. 1 Steffi Graf in the semifinals. She was also in the final at the 1997 Australian Open, 2005 French Open, and 2005 US Open.
Known for her hard-hitting, powerful game, Pierce won 18 singles titles and compiled a record of 511-237 over her career. In addition, she captured 10 doubles titles and had a career record of 197-116.
Pierce was a member of the French Fed Cup team for 10 years and she played an important role in helping the nation win their two titles in 1997 and 2003. She was also a member of the French Olympic Team in 1992, 1996, and 2004.
Pierce has been recognized for her success and contributions to the sport on numerous occasions, with awards including the Bourgeon Award (1992), WTA Most Improved Player (1994), the WTA Comeback Player of the Year (1997), Sanex Fans Award (2002), the Meredith Inspiration Award (2006), and the Racchetta d’Oro Award (2012).
Sergi Bruguera, 43, of Barcelona, Spain, won back-to-back French Open titles in 1993 and 1994, and advanced to a third French Open final in 1997. He achieved a career high of world No. 3 and was ranked in the world top-5 for a total of 91 weeks.
Bruguera won 14 singles titles and 3 doubles titles, with particular success on clay courts. He compiled a record of 447-271 over the course of his career. Between 1991 and 1994 he won at least three titles each year, with five victories in 1993.
En route to his first major title at the 1993 French Open, Bruguera notched several big wins with victories over then No. 1 Pete Sampras, Andrei Medvedev, and two-time defending champion Jim Courier in the final. The following year, he defeated countryman Alberto Berasategui in four sets in the first ever all Spanish men’s final.
At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta Bruguera won the Silver Medal. Bruguera was an integral part of Spain’s Davis Cup competition from 1990-1995, compiling a record of 12-11.
In 1997, Bruguera earned the ATP’s Comeback Player of Year award, after returning from an ankle injury and improving his ranking from World No. 81 to World No. 8.
Bursting onto the scene in the late 1980s – early 1990’s, Bruguera is credited with leading a resurgence in men’s tennis in Spain. In 1989, his first full season on tour, he closed out the year world No. 26 and was named ATP Newcomer of the Year.
Still highly active in tennis, today Bruguera serves as coach for Richard Gasquet, current world No. 14.
Yevgeny Kafelnikov, 40, of Sochi, Russia, was the first Russian player to hold the No. 1 singles ran king, which he did for six weeks. Known as a hard-working player with a versatile 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). He partnered with Daniel Vacek for three of the four wins, pairing with Paul Harrhuis for the 2002 French Open doubles title.
Kafelnikov is the last man in history to have won both the singles and the doubles titles at the same Grand Slam 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.
After he stopped competing in tennis, Kafelnikov has 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.
Recent Player Category, Wheelchair Tennis: David Hall
David Hall, 44, of Australia, is one of the most decorated wheelchair tennis players to date. He was ranked world No. 1 in singles and doubles and he won every major title in the sport- winning most on multiple occasions.
In 1986, when he was 16 years old, Hall was struck by a car and had to have both of his legs amputated. After about seven months of rehabilitation, he saw a photograph of a wheelchair tennis player in the newspaper and was intrigued. Within a year, he entered his first tournament, igniting his passion for the sport.
In 1993, Hall turned pro, and through tremendous dedication to developing his game, he went on to become 6-time Paralympic medalist, winning medals in singles and doubles at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Games. At the 2000 Games in Sydney, before his hometown crowd, he won the Gold Medal in singles and the Silver Medal in doubles. Hall was honored with the Medal of Order of Australia in recognition of this accomplishment. Hall also represented Australia proudly and skillfully in the World Team Cup, helping lead the team to victory four times.
Hall won the Australian Open for Wheelchair Tennis an incredible nine times and the US Open eight times. He was also champion at the British Open seven times and the Japan Open eight times. He won 18 Super Series titles over the course of his career.
Hall holds a remarkable career singles record of 632-111 and a career doubles record of 397-89.
He retired from the sport in 2006, but remains highly engaged in promoting wheelchair tennis around the world. He serves as one of the six Wheelchair Tennis Ambassadors chosen by the International Tennis Federation. He is the current tournament ambassador to the Australian Open. In addition, he has written extensively about the sport and has produced training DVDs to educate others about getting involved.
In 2010, Hall was inducted in to Sport Australia’s Hall of Fame, where he is one of just three Paralympians to have been inducted.
Contributor Category: Nancy Jeffett
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.
Nancy Jeffett’s work for tennis over the past 50 years has been instrumental in advancing professional women’s tennis and in developing opportunities for junior tennis development.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Jeffett moved to Dallas, Texas with her husband in 1956. In Dallas she befriended Mo Connolly, a then recently retired nine-time Grand Slam singles champion. Bonded over their mutual passion for tennis, the two set out to build tennis programming to engage more people with the sport, especially children and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. In 1968, the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation (MCBTF) was established with the goal of providing funds for tennis clinics and to aid juniors who could not afford to compete nationally.
Unfortunately, Connolly did not live to see the foundation thrive, as she passed away just a one year later. However, Jeffett remained highly committed to the cause, as she does to this day in her role as Chairman Emeritus, and as a result, one of the most prestigious junior tennis programs in the world was established. Jeffett developed an organization that inspires youth tennis, hosts a dozen major tournaments, and has contributed more than $4 million to player development – from tennis programs in public parks to professional tournaments.
In Connolly’s honor, in 1969, Jeffett staged the first Maureen Connolly Brinker Memorial tournament. In the years that followed, Jeffett was determined to grow the tournament, as well as the opportunity for women’s pro tennis to flourish. A trailblazer among tennis industry leaders, Jeffett went against any pre-conceived societal notions about the viability of women’s pro tennis as a sport that fans would embrace. She made a financial commitment to establish the tournament, and became one of the first promoters of women’s pro tennis. In 1972, the tournament made tennis history as the first women’s professional event that was televised and gave prize money to its winners. That tournament later became the Virginia Slims of Dallas, one of the most popular and important tournaments in the early years of the WTA Tour.
Now in its 17th year, MCBTF’s “Road to the Little Mo Nationals” is a unique year-long circuit of sectional, regional, and national competitive tournaments for boys and girls ages 8 – 11. MCBTF also offers three “Little Mo” International Open tournaments for boys and girls ages 8 – 12. Tens of thousands of talented young players have competed in these international tournaments over the years from more than 50 countries. Additionally, MCBTF continues to stage an international competition between the USA and Great Britain (for girls 16 and under). In 2010, MCBTF began its “Mini Mo” program for children ages 5 – 10 to help interest them in the sport.
Many players who have gone on to great success on the sport’s biggest stages competed in the MCBTF events, including Tracy Austin, Zina Garrison, Andy Roddick, Ryan Harrison. The next generation of greats continues to participate today, such as Stefan Kozlov and Mitchell Krueger.
In addition to her work with MCBTF and the Virginia Slims, Jeffett has served the sport in numerous capacities, including as a highly active member of the USTA Executive Committee from 1973 – 1994 and on the ITF Fed Cup Committee, 1988 – 1996. Additionally, she served as Chairwoman of the Wightman Cup, 1978 – 1990, and Chairwoman of the Federation Cup, 1981 – 1990.
Jeffett has been recognized worldwide for her commitment to the sport of tennis. In 1970, she was the recipient of the prestigious USTA Service Bowl (1970). She has been honored with numerous “Service to Tennis” awards including the World Championship Tennis award (1983); the Chuck McKinley award (1993); the International Tennis Federation award (1994); the Virginia Slims award (1996); and the Caswell Award for Service to Tennis in Texas. In 2007, Jeffett was honored with the Golden Achievement Award, given jointly by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation in recognition of a commitment to growing tennis worldwide. She was presented with the Carl Aarvold Award from the Lawn Tennis Association of Great Britain for service to international tennis. She is an Honorary Member of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, having been elected for her services to international tennis. She is the only American woman who is not a Wimbledon champion to have received this honor.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015 will be announced early next year. The Class of 2015 Enshrinement Ceremony will be hosted on Saturday, July 18, 2015 during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. For additional information, please visit tennisfame.com