ITHF to induct Mauresmo, Hall, and Jeffett
March 9, 2015
NEWPORT, R.I. — Former world No. 1 and two-time major champion Amelie Mauresmo has been elected to receive the highest honor in the sport of tennis- induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Joining Mauresmo in the Class of 2015 will be David Hall of Australia, a six-time Paralympic medalist. Longtime tennis industry leader Nancy Jeffett has been elected 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 2015 inductees were announced today at a press conference in New York City as part of the World Tennis Day festivities, which is being celebrated around the globe tomorrow.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Tennis has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I extend my gratitude to the selection committee for recognizing my career in this way,” commented Mauresmo, who was a singles champion at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. “It’s an extraordinary honor to have my career celebrated alongside the greatest champions of our sport, people who I have admired so greatly all my life.”
Since 1955, the honor of induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been presented to just 240 people representing 21 nations. 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 Class of 2015 will be honored with tribute exhibits in the Hall of Fame’s museum, which is currently undergoing a $3 million renovation to offer tennis fans a new, engaging, state-of-the-art experience. The museum will re-open in May.
“Amelie and David were both inspiring and highly accomplished competitors on the professional tours. Nancy’s commitment to tennis has been integral to the growth of the sport and will leave a permanent positive impact on tennis for years to come,” commented Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, who also serves as chairman of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. “We look forward to celebrating their many accomplishments and contributions to tennis by presentation of our sport’s highest honor- induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.”
Hall is the fourth wheelchair tennis player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame.
“I feel so honored and thankful that I am going to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. I’m sure the ceremony will be a very emotional moment for me,” Hall said. “Tennis has taken me further than I ever imagined and I can’t wait to get to Newport to share this wonderful honor with my family and friends.”
Of the honor of Hall of Fame induction, Jeffett commented, “Tennis has been such an important focal point of my life and I’ve loved every minute of working to grow the sport. I’m incredibly honored and humbled to have my commitment to tennis recognized through induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. My efforts were always part of a joint enterprise that included the early friends and volunteers who supported the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation and the Virginia Slims of Dallas, and friends at the WTA, especially Hall of Famer Peachy Kellmeyer, as well as my fellow volunteers at the USTA. None of it would have been possible without my family. I’m very much looking forward to a wonderful celebration in Newport in July.”
Individuals are eligible for Hall of Fame induction in three categories, Recent Player, Master Player, and Contributor. The International Media Voting Group, which is comprised of tennis journalists and authors, votes on the Recent Player Category. The International Masters Voting Group, which consists of Hall of Famers and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, votes on the Master Player and Contributor categories. To be elected in any of the categories, an affirmative vote of 75% is required. There are no inductees for 2015 in the Master Player Category, which honors individuals who had tremendous tennis accomplishments but have not been a major factor on a professional tour for 20 years or more.
The Class of 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 18 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be a highlight of the Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend, which will also feature museum tribute exhibits for the new Hall of Famers, 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. Tickets for the ceremony and tournament are available now on www.HallofFameTennisChampionships.com.
The members of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2015 have all been integral in shaping the history of the sport. Following are detailed biographies of the Class of 2015, grouped by category.
Recent Player Category
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 five years prior to enshrinement; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character.
Bolstered by a powerful yet elegant one-handed backhand and remarkably strong net play, France’s Amelie Mauresmo 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. In all, she won 25 singles titles on the WTA Tour 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.
David Hall of Sydney, 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.
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.
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 service to tennis over the past 50 years has been instrumental in advancing women’s pro tennis and in developing opportunities for junior tennis development.
In 1968, Jeffett partnered with her good friend Mo Connolly, a then recently retired nine-time Grand Slam singles champion, to build tennis programming to engage more people with the sport, especially children and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. 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). 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, and 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.
The Class of 2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 18 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Additional information and tickets for the ceremony and is available now on HallofFameTennisChampionships.com.