NEWPORT, R.I., June 26, 2014 - On Saturday, July 12, five great champions and leaders in the sport will be awarded the highest honor in tennis- enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame Class of 2014 is comprised of former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, 5-time Paralympic champion Chantal Vandierendonck, and longtime tennis industry leaders Nick Bollettieri, Jane Brown Grimes, and John Barrett. Family and friends, thousands of fans, and fellow tennis legends are all set to gather in Newport, R.I. for the festivities. Seventeen Hall of Famers are expected to join the Class of 2014 on the ceremony dais, and many more tennis leaders are scheduled to attend. A notable group of special guest presenters, all personally selected by the enshrinees, will introduce the Class of 2014 during the enshrinement ceremony.
Hall of Famer Chris Evert will return to Newport to introduce her longtime friend, tennis executive Jane Brown Grimes. Evert was a WTA Tour player and served as president of the WTA during the same pivotal time period in which Brown Grimes was the Managing Director of the Women's Professional Tennis Council. During her tenure, Brown Grimes successfully resolved conflicting interests among the tour's sponsor, the players, tournaments, and the ITF, ultimately securing the WTA's future. Evert and Brown Grimes have remained close friends over the years, during which Brown Grimes' career has included the roles of Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA and President and CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Wheelchair tennis pioneer Brad Parks, Hall of Fame Class of 2010, also returns to Newport to present the honors to an incoming ensrhinee. Parks, who was the first wheelchair tennis player ever to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, will introduce Chantal Vandierendonck. A three-time ITF World Champion for wheelchair tennis, Vandierendonck was the first in a long line of successful wheelchair tennis players from The Netherlands. She will be the first female wheelchair tennis player and the first Dutch inductee overall in the Hall of Fame.
"To have Chrissie and Brad participate in the ceremony and to have this incredible gathering of Hall of Famers and tennis leaders share in the presentation of the highest and most respected honor in the sport of tennis will make the enshrinement extra special for the incoming class. We look forward to an excellent celebration in Newport during the Hall of Fame's 60th anniversary year, and we encourage fans around the world to be part of the festivities by joining us in Newport or tuning in on Tennis Channel," said Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser.
Three notable tennis journalists and broadcasters will introduce the other members of the class. Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who coached ten players to world No. 1 status, will be presented by Mary Carillo, a former WTA player and one of the most respected and recognized broadcast voices in the sport today. Carillo is on the air with Tennis Channel, NBC Sports, and HBO, and has a lengthy and highly regarded history in sports broadcasting.
Incoming British Hall of Famer John Barrett, who is being recognized for his astute news coverage and work as a tennis historian, will be introduced by his American counterpart, longtime tennis journalist Steve Flink. Like Barrett, Flink has dedicated his career to sharing tennis stories with the world and to diligently preserving the sport's history as a statistician, historian, and author. Flink was a Senior Correspondent for Tennis Week magazine for many years, a writer for World Tennis Magazine, and a broadcaster and statistician for major networks. He a regular columnist for www.tennischannel.com.
Tennis Channel broadcaster and former ATP World Tour player Justin Gimelstob will present his longtime friend Lindsay Davenport. The two American players came up through the tennis ranks together. They started out hitting balls as juniors with Coach Robert Lansdorp and built successful WTA and ATP careers in the same time period. Today, they are both integral members of the on-air team for Tennis Channel, and Gimelstob also serves on the ATP World Tour Board of Directors.
"I'm honored and humbled to play a role in my good friend's big day," said Gimelstob. "Lindsay has always conducted herself with a commitment to excellence and a deep respect for the sport. Lindsay has proven to be one of the sport's great champions and it's fitting that she is receiving the ultimate acknowledgment of her accomplishments. I'm looking forward to celebrating with her and the Class of 2014 as their legacy is honored in the Hall of Fame."
Hall of Famers Tracy Austin, Monica Seles, and Gigi Fernandez are among those scheduled to appear at the ceremony. Seles, a nine-time major champion, was coached by incoming Hall of Famer Nick Bollettieri during her playing career. The three women will top off Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend by participating in a previously announced exhibition match on Sunday, July 13 at 11 am. Rhode Island native and recently retired WTA player Jill Craybas will be the fourth in the doubles match. The exhibition will be complemented by a men's exhibition featuring Brian Gottfried and Jimmy Arias, both former students of Bollettieri's, Hall of Fame CEO-designate Todd Martin, and Hall of Famer Owen Davidson.
Hall of Famer Vic Seixas, who is celebrating the 60th anniversary of his championship sweep at the 1954 U.S. Nationals, where he won the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles, is also scheduled to appear in Newport. Also, 1961 Wimbledon Champion Angela Mortimer Barrett, Hall of Fame Class of 1993, will participate in the ceremony in support of her husband John Barrett.
Adding to the celebration, Hall of Famers Pam Shriver, Rosie Casals, Peachy Kellmeyer, Bud Collins, Dick Savitt, Donald Dell, Russ Adams, and Charlie Pasarell are all scheduled to travel to Newport for the ceremony and festivities.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2014 Enshrinement Ceremony will be held at 12:00 pm on Saturday, July 12 on Bill Talbert Center Court in Newport, R.I. The ceremony will also be broadcast live on Tennis Channel. Limited tickets to the ceremony and exhibition match are still available and many purchased on www.HallofFameTennisChampionships.com or by phone at 401-849-6053.
About the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide, and enshrining tennis heroes and heroines with the highest honor in the sport of tennis- induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In 1986, the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of tennis, officially recognized the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum as the sport's official Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on a six-acre property that features an extensive museum chronicling the history of the sport and honoring the 235 Hall of Famers; 13 grass tennis courts and an indoor tennis facility that are open to the public and to a club membership; a rare Court Tennis facility; and an historic 297-seat theatre. Annually in July, the venue hosts the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships for the Van Alen Cup, an ATP World Tour event. The buildings and grounds, which were constructed in 1880 by McKim, Mead & White to serve as a social club for Newport's summer residents, are renowned for their incredible architecture and preservation. The facility was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The Hall of Fame is supported by major sponsors including Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc., American Express, EMC, Alex and Ani, Chubb Personal Insurance, Michelob ULTRA, and Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyards. For information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.