Donald L. Dell

Class of 2009: International Tennis Hall of Fame Announces New Members

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND, USA –  Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and Tony Trabert, Hall of Fame President, have announced the names of the newly elected members to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  Leading the Induction Class of 2009 is nine-time Grand Slam Singles Champion and former World No. 1 Monica Seles.

Joining Seles for Hall of Fame induction is one of Spain’s most prominent tennis players of the 1960s, Andres Gimeno, who has been elected in the Master Player category. In addition, elected in the Contributor category are Donald L. Dell, an industry pioneer and leader in sports marketing, professional sports management and sports television and founder of ProServ; and the late Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson, founder and director of the American Tennis Association (ATA) Junior Development Program, who worked tirelessly for decades assisting in the development of young African-American tennis players while helping to break the barriers of racial segregation.

“It is our great pleasure to welcome the newest members into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and to honor them for their brilliant careers and significant achievements in the sport of tennis,” said Clouser.

The Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is slated for Saturday, July 11 in Newport, Rhode Island, during the final weekend of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (July 6-12), an ATP World Tour event. The International Tennis Hall of Fame, inclusive of the Class of 2009, now honors 211 champions of tennis representing 18 different countries.

One of the all-time great champions of tennis, “Rocket” Rod Laver, will be in Newport for the Hall of Fame’s Induction Weekend, July 10-12. The International Tennis Hall of Fame will honor Laver, naming him a Hall of Fame Life Trustee and will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Laver’s second career Grand Slam triumph. Laver, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981, is the only player in the history of tennis to capture two career Grand Slams -1962 and 1969.

Monica Seles, now 35, held the World No. 1 ranking for 178 weeks (non-consecutive) and captured nine Grand Slam singles titles – four Australian (1991-1993, 1996), three at Roland Garros (1990-1992) and two US Opens (1991-1992). Her win-loss record at the Grand Slams was a staggering 43-4 at the Australian, 54-8 at Roland Garros, 30-9 at Wimbledon and 53-10 at the US Open. In a career spanning 15 years, she captured 53 singles titles and six doubles titles and collected well over $14 million in prize money. She won three consecutive year-end WTA Championships (1990-1992) and finished as the world’s No. 1 ranked player in both 1991 and 1992.

A natural lefty, wielding double-handed forehands and backhands, she was a determined competitor.  Her footwork was impeccable, her groundstrokes powerful and aggressive, and she constantly attacked her opponents with an arsenal of remarkable weapons.

At age 19, Seles had already won eight of her nine singles slams and was at the top of her game. Then in April 1993, during a changeover of her quarterfinal match against Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg, a fanatical fan of Steffi Graf came out of nowhere and stabbed her in the back, just below her left shoulder blade. The horror of this event sent shockwaves through the tennis community, and 27 months would pass before Seles played competitively again. When she returned to the courts, she was granted a co-No. 1 ranking (shared with Steffi Graf) and won her comeback event at the Canadian Open, reached the US Open final, and followed up with her ninth Grand Slam singles championship at the Australian Open (1996).

Born December 2, 1973 in Novi Sad, in what was then Yugoslavia, she moved with her family to the United States in 1987 at the age of 13 to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. On March 16, 1994, she became a U.S. citizen. Seles would play on the United States Fed Cup team for five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002) posting a career 15-2 singles record and a 2-0 doubles record while helping the Americans capture the Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2000.

Seles remains the youngest champion in history to win at Roland Garros (16 years, 6 months) and was the youngest winner of the Tour Championships (16 years, 11 months) beating Gabriela Sabatini in the first women’s match to extend to five sets since the 1901 U.S. National final. In addition, Seles won the Olympic bronze medal in 2000. Throughout her career, Seles won numerous awards, multiple Player and Athlete of the Year awards, and humanitarian awards. She is currently on the board of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and ICL (Institution for Civil Leadership).

Spain’s Master Player Andres Gimeno won the French Open in 1972 at the age of 34 years, 10 months, the oldest champion to grace the red clay at Roland Garros. In addition, he reached the final at the 1969 Australian Open; the semifinals at the 1968 French Open and at Wimbledon in 1970; and the quarterfinals at the 1958 Australian Championships, and the 1960 and 1969 French Championships. Gimeno captured seven singles titles and four doubles titles (in the Open era) and reached a career high ranking of No. 9 in the world. As a member of Spain’s Davis Cup team 1958-60, 1972 and 1973, he posted a playing record of 23-10. As one of Spain’s premier amateur sportsmen, he became incredibly popular, as did the sport of tennis, and he became a national hero. In 1960, Gimeno signed on to the professional tennis tour staged by Jack Kramer and was an immediate sensation in the pro ranks – finishing his first series second only to Pancho Gonzalez. Wielding a great overhead smash, strong volleys, a formidable forehand and with exceptional grace and balance, Gimeno’s career is highlighted in the sport’s amateur and professional periods, and then crossed into the Open era of tennis.

Donald L. Dell has spent his life in the forefront of the sport of tennis.  As a player, he was a U.S. Davis Cup team member from 1961-64. As a non-playing captain of the 1968 and 1969 U.S. Davis Cup teams, he became the youngest U.S. captain and the first in 20 years to regain and successfully defend the Cup in consecutive years.  He reached his highest U.S. singles ranking of No. 4 in 1961, and made it to No. 1 in doubles in 1962-63. Dell also represented the U.S. State Department on two world tennis tours (1961 and 1965) and was the first American in history to play competitive tennis in the Soviet Union (1961).

During the Open era, Dell’s business career took off as he dove into the sports marketing and management arena and became the first person to represent and manage the careers of tennis players, beginning with Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith. Players faced an uncertain future as tennis became a professional sport, and Dell persevered to develop future player opportunities, recognizing an athlete’s need for sound career management and the development of effective sports marketing programs. He is credited with having developed some of the most significant and long-lasting partnerships between sponsors and sports properties and he has negotiated over a billion dollars in sponsorships and endorsements.

In 1970, Dell’s own private law practice evolved into Professional Services Inc., (ProServ) which quickly assumed a leadership role in a new sports marketing industry and was the first-ever management company to represent tennis players. As Founder and Chairman, in 1999 ProServ was acquired by SFX as an integral part of its organization, and today, residing under the corporate umbrella of BEST – Blue Entertainment Sports Television – Dell currently oversees and advises many of the group’s global television properties, including the French Open, the US Open, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, of which he is also a tournament founder, in addition to 20 ATP World Tour tennis telecasts. After the creation and success of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Dell gave the event to the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation and has assisted in raising over $15 million for children’s tennis programs in the DC area.

In 1972, along with tennis icon Jack Kramer, Dell founded the Association for Tennis Professionals as a players’ union and served as its first General Counsel for eight years. An active philanthropist, Dell is the Vice Chairman and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors and a member of both the USTA Public Relations Committee and the U.S. Davis Cup Selection Committee.

Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson (1899-1971) is considered the man most responsible for launching the careers of world tennis greats Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, the nation’s first African-American tennis champions. During a time of racial separation, Johnson, through quiet diplomacy, was able to open the doors of tournament competition to young African-Americans barred from mainstream competition. He persevered, despite the racial barriers of that time, and through whispered entreaties and legal challenges he helped pave the way for minorities to gain entrance into tournaments and excel at the highest levels of the game. For more than 20 years, Johnson’s home in Lynchburg, Virginia became the destination for talented black tennis players to receive training and to participate in integrated tournaments and exhibitions with the likes of Pauline Betz Addie and Bobby Riggs. He provided food, equipment, financial support and guidance throughout their development.

Through the American Tennis Association (ATA), which was formed in 1916, Johnson created the ATA Junior Development Program. In the 1950s and 1960s, he sponsored, trained and nurtured hundreds of African-American juniors – and several white juniors – at his Lynchburg home, where he had a tennis court in his backyard. He initiated the integration of black tennis at the junior level, and ultimately at the highest levels of the game, working as coach, trainer, sponsor and fundraiser – and courageously approaching tournament directors and lobbying for his players’ full participation. He was also publisher of the ATA’s annual program, distributed at the national championships, and his vehicle for informing the membership of the achievements of his junior players.

The names of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe (both Hall of Famers) and their life achievements will long be remembered in the world of tennis; they were the African-American trailblazers and became champions of the sport through their discipline and perseverance. However it was Johnson’s vision and innovative groundwork that gave Gibson and Ashe – and all future black champions – the training ground and road map to succeed.

A panel of International Tennis Media voted on the Recent Player selectee, where 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, voted on the Master Player and Contributor selectees. To be inducted as a Master Player or a Contributor, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.

Hall of Fame Eligibility Criteria

Recent Player: Monica Seles

Active as a competitor in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP World Tour or Sony Ericsson 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.

Master Player: Andres Gimeno

Competitor in the sport who has 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.

Contributors: Donald L. Dell and Dr. Robert Johnson (posthumously)

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.

Establishment in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis and its champions. Tickets for the 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships are available online at tennisfame.com or by calling 866-914-FAME. For more information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the Class of 2009 Induction Weekend, the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, please call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.

Mondays With Bob Greene: I’m me. I love to show my emotion.

STARS

(U.S. Open first week)

Julie Coin beat top-seeded Ana Ivanovic 6-3 4-6 6-3

Katarina Srebotnik beat third-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 7-6 (1) 6-3

Kei Nishikori beat fourth-seeded David Ferrer 6-4 6-4 3-6 2-6 7-5

Gael Monfils beat seventh-seeded David Nalbandian 6-3 6-4 6-2

Tatiana Perebiynis beat eighth-seeded Vera Zvonareva 6-3 6-3

Mardy Fish beat ninth-seeded James Blake 6-3 6-3 7-6 (4)

Ekaterina Makarova beat tenth-seeded Anna Chakvetadze 1-6 6-2 6-3

SAYINGS

“I have the same goal. When I was number two, the goal was the same, was win the US Open. The goal wasn’t win the US Open to be number one. The goal is win US Open, no?” – Rafael Nadal, playing his first tournament as the world’s number one player.

“I don’t realize yet that I beat number one in the world. I don’t realize that I played at the big court. I don’t know how I’m going to sleep tonight.” – Julie Coin, after upsetting top-seeded Ana Ivanovic.

“I don’t really play any different on clay than I do on a hard court. It’s not like I’m changing anything when I go out there. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, I lose.” – Sam Querrey, asked if he changes his game plan for different surfaces.

“This is my, I think, fifth US Open, and this time I’m the happiest to be here, so I enjoy every moment of it. And first couple days when I had some afternoons off I went shopping and to Central Park. I really tried to get best out of it.” – Ana Ivanovic, on playing in the US Open as the top seed and before she was upset.

“I’m not going to hide and try to go around and say tennis is fun, it’s so easy, because people will understand it’s not true. … It’s difficult to practice every day.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, admitting it’s difficult to stay inspired to play and practice year-round.

“I guess they call it the yips on your serve. I don’t know where it came from. Probably came from all my years making fun of people that had it. That was my karma coming back.” – Lindsay Davenport, joking about starting a game with seven straight faults in her loss to Marion Bartoli.

“I think that definitely the Wimbledon win helped me a lot to change my mentality, to realize not everything had to be perfect all the time. … Now if I don’t have a perfect practice, I know I can play. I think that helps me to relax.” – Venus Williams.

“I don’t think I’d have as many because she motivated me, especially being young and watching her play. The mistakes she made, I made them with her. So when I actually played, I didn’t make the mistakes that she made. I was able to grow with her on the sidelines, so to say. … If anything, I think she definitely helped my career.” – Serena Williams, about big sister Venus Williams.

“There is nothing bigger. There is nothing more important than Olympic Games for an athlete, for a sports person.” – Elena Dementieva, who won the women’s singles at the Beijing Olympics.

“I always believe that the match is on my racquet. I think every time I lose is because of me, not because of the other person.” – Serena Williams.

“I’m me. I love to show my emotion. I love to do a show because when I was 9, 11, to play in front of a lot of people is for me something amazing. So I like to do it for me. It’s fun. You know, I have to show them I’m enjoying on the court, (that) I enjoy my sport. And then they show me emotion, so it’s great.” – Gael Monfils, after upsetting David Nalbandian.

“Right now I’m very happy. That’s the only word I can say right now. And I couldn’t give up in the fifth set. … I was tired and my legs was almost cramping. But I tried to think, I am playing David, he’s number four in the world, and (I’m) playing five sets with him. I felt kind of happy and more positive. That’s why I think I could fight through everything.” – Kei Nishikori, after upsetting fourth-seeded David Ferrer.

“I’m enjoying the city, the crowd. When you play here it’s a different atmosphere, and you just have so much fun being on the court. Even playing first at 11 (a.m.), it’s not so many people, but you feel special being on central court.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, before losing in the third round.

SINGLES CHAMPIONS

There have been 40 winners in the men’s and women’s singles in the 40 years of the Open Era – 21 men and 19 women. The 1968 champions – the late Arthur Ashe, who was represented by his wife and daughter, and Virginia Wade, led a parade of past champions onto the court on opening night to help the USTA celebrate the anniversary. Chris Evert won six US Opens, the most of any woman in the Open Era, while Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors led the men with five titles each.

SWAPPING PLACES

Serena Williams swapped places on the WTA Tour rankings with Svetlana Kuznetsova, moving up one spot to number three in the world behind the Serbian pair of Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. Kuznetsova dropped to fourth, the best showing of the six Russians in the top ten: Maria Sharapova, Olympics gold medalist Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina, Anna Chakvetazde and Vera Zvonareva. Venus Williams is ranked eighth in the world.

SERVING YOUTH

James Blake presented a USD $10,000 check on behalf of Evian Natural Spring Water to USTA Serves and the Harlem Junior Tennis & Education program. USTA Serves is the USTA’s not-for-profit philanthropic entity dedicated to improving the quality of life among the nation’s youth, with a mission to support, monitor and promote programs that enhance the lives of disadvantaged children through the integration of tennis and education.

SO LATE

Spectators at the US Open for the night session have seats for only two matches, those beginning at 7 p.m. in Arthur Ashe Stadium. All other matches still being played elsewhere at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are considered day matches. That was true when Chuang Chia-Jung and Daniel Nestor played a mixed doubles match against Sloane Stephens and Robert Kendrick. Because Kendrick had played a singles match against Novak Djokovic earlier in the day, the mixed doubles “day match” was scheduled to start on an outside court “Not before 8 p.m.”

SELES TO HALL?

Monica Seles heads the list of candidates for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009. Seles won nine major singles titles and was ranked number one in the world. On the ballot in the Master Player category is Andres Gimeno, one of Spain’s most prominent players of the 1960s and the singles champion at Roland Garros, which he won in 1972. Others on the ballot in the Contributory category are Donald L. Dell, a lawyer, founder of ProServ and former Davis Cup captain; Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson, founder and director of the American Tennis Association (ATA); and Japan’s Eiichi Kawatei, for his leadership and dedication in the development and promotion of tennis in Asia.

SERVING BIG

Ivo Karlovic served 42 aces in his second-round victory over Florent Serra. The 6-foot-10 (2.08m) native of Zagreb, Croatia, has three of the top seven ace totals at the US Open since 1991. In his 11 career US Open matches, Karlovic has hit 330 aces, an average of 30 aces per match. In his 7-6 (5) 7-6 (5) 6-2 third-round loss to 6-foot-6 (1.98m) Sam Querrey, Karlovic had 24 aces, matching the fewest total he has had in any match at the year’s final Grand Slam tournament. He wound up his US Open with a total of 94 aces in three matches. Surprisingly, Karlovic is not in the top ten in the serving speed at this year’s event, that honor going to Andy Roddick, who had a serve clocked at 147 mph (236 kph)

SIX FOR ONE

When the US Open began, six players had a chance to wind up number one in the world in the WTA Tour rankings at the end of the fortnight. The easiest scenario would have been if the two top seeds – Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic – wound up in the final; the winner of that match would take over the top spot, as would Serena Williams if she wins. Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dinara Safina and Elena Dementieva also had a shot at number one when the tournament began, but with a dizzying array of options and outcomes needed. Kuznetsova was knocked out of the running for the top spot when Ivanovic won her opening round match.

STOPPED

Because of security reasons, the Bangalore Open, scheduled to start September 29, has been cancelled. The ATP said it has “accepted a petition from the Bangalore Open to suspend the 2008 event due to the local promoter’s security concerns.” The tournament has been held at Mumbai for the past two years. It was moved to Bangalore in May, but a series of bombs rocked the southern Indian city on July 25, killing one person. The ATP said the total prize money of USD $400,000 would go into the ATP player pension fund.

SUCCESS

Gilles Muller of Luxembourg worked overtime to get into the round of 16 for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament. The last qualifier remaining in the draw at the U.S. Open, Muller defeated Laurent Recouderc 6-4 6-0 4-6 6-4 and Tommy Haas 2-6 2-6 7-6 6-3 6-3 in the first two rounds. The Haas victory was the first time he came back after trailing by two sets. He did it again when he beat 18th-seeded Nicolas Almagro in the third round on Sunday.

SHUZO FOLLOWER

When Kei Nishikori upset fourth-seeded David Ferrer 6-4 6-4 3-6 2-6 7-5, he became the first Japanese man to reach the final 16 at the US Open in the Open Era. The only Japanese man to go further in a Grand Slam tournament was Shuzo Matsuoka, who reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 1995. At 18 years, 8 months, Nishikori became the youngest player to reach the last 16 at the US Open since Marat Safin in 1998.

SENT PACKING

When qualifier Julie Coin shocked Ana Ivanovic in a second-round match, it marked the earliest defeat by a number one-seeded woman at the US Open in the Open Era and the first time a number one seed has lost in the second round of the even since 1956, when top-seeded Billie Jean King lost to Australia’s Kerry Melville 6-4 6-4 in the US Championships. The previous record for the earliest loss in the Open Era came in 1973 when King retired in the third set of her third-round match against Julie Heldman. Only four number one seeds in the Open Era have lost prior to the semifinals: Justine Henin in the fourth round in 2004, Martina Navratilova in the quarterfinals in 1982, King in 1973 and Ivanovic this year. The last time a number one seed has lost in the second round of a Grand Slam tournament was in 2004 when Tathiana Garbin shocked Justine Henin at Roland Garros.

SONG FOR VENUS

Wyclef Jean has written and recorded a song inspired by tennis champion Venus Williams. The song, titled “Venus (I’m Ready),” is a musical fan letter to the 2008 Olympic doubles gold medalist and reigning Wimbledon singles and doubles champion. “Venus’ determination and mental strength inspires me,” said Wyclef Jean, a Grammy Award winner. “Much like Isis, her strength should be celebrated.”

SITE FOR SIGHT

The USTA is creating two USTA-branded channels on YouTube, one devoted to professional tennis and the other dedicated to recreational tennis. The US Open Channel includes daily updates from the US Open, including post-match player interviews. The website will also feature a daily Junior Report on the US Open juniors. The second channel (www.youtube.com/tennis) will be entirely devoted to recreational tennis and is scheduled to launch later this fall.

SWISS BANKER

He may be ranked number two in the world, but Roger Federer is still the top money winner in tennis by far. In the past 12 months Federer has earned USD $35 million, almost twice as much as Rafael Nadal, who has replaced the Swiss star atop the rankings. According to Forbes, the global appeal of tennis is the reason Federer rakes in more endorsement money than American sports stars Derek Jeter, Payton Manning and Dale Earnhardt. Federer, who is fluent in English, French and German, has won 55 tournaments in 17 countries and is a global brand. Forbes says another reason is that tennis players command the prime demographics. Sandwiched between Federer and Nadal is Maria Sharapova, the world’s highest-paid female athlete with earnings of USD $26 million. Tied for fourth is a trio of Americans at USD $15 million: Andy Roddick and the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.

SHARED PERFORMANCES

Four sets of siblings sought the doubles titles at this year’s US Open, and that doesn’t include Venus and Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon and the Beijing Olympics this year but decided to skip the year’s final Grand Slam tournament, an event they last won in 1999. American twins Bob and Mike Bryan were the number two seeds in the men’s doubles, which also included first-round losers Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana of Thailand. The women’s doubles included Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska of Poland and Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine.

SITES TO SURF

US Open: www.usopen.org

Bucharest: www.bcropenromania.ro/

Bali: www.commbanktennis.com

Athens: www.vogueathensopen.com/

Serena Williams: www.serenawilliams.com

USOpen Channel: www.youtube.com/usopen

USTA YouTube: www.youtube.com/tennis

TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK

(All money in USD)

ATP and WTA TOUR

U.S. Open, Flushing Meadows, New York, hard (second week)

TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK

ATP

$416,000 BCR Open Romania, Bucharest, Romania, clay

WTA TOUR

$225,000 Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic, Bali, Indonesia, hard

$100,000 Vogue Athens Open 2008, Athens, Greece, clay

$100,000 ITF event, Kharkiv, Ukraine, hard

FED CUP

(September 13-14)

Russia vs. Spain at Madrid, Spain, final, clay

International Tennis Hall of Fame Announces Ballot Names for 2009 Induction

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND, USA -Tony Trabert, President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, today announced the names of the five ballot nominees for possible Hall of Fame induction in July 2009. Nine-time Grand Slam Singles Champion and former World No. 1 Monica Seles heads the 2009 ballot nominations. Joining her on the ballot in the Master Player category is Andres Gimeno. He was one of Spain’s most prominent tennis players of the 1960s, and who remains Roland Garros’ oldest singles champion, winning the coveted clay court title in 1972.

Named on the ballot in the Contributor category are: Donald L. Dell, an industry pioneer and leader in sports marketing, professional sports management and sports television and founder of ProServ; Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson (posthumously), founder and director of the American Tennis Association (ATA) Junior Development Program, who worked tirelessly for decades assisting young African-American players (most notably Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe) in gaining admittance into previously segregated tournaments; and Japan’s Eiichi Kawatei, for his exceptional leadership and dedication in the development and promotion of tennis in Asia.

“On behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, I am honored to announce this year’s ballot,” said Tony Trabert, ITHF President and 1970 Hall of Famer. “Monica and Andres both had brilliant careers in tennis, while Donald, Dr. Johnson and Eiichi made important and historic contributions that have significantly impacted and shaped our sport.”

Voting for the 2009 ballot will take place over the next several months leading to the announcement of the official 2009 induction class in January. The Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

Recent Player Nominees (1) Eligibility criteria for the Recent Player category: 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.

Monica Seles, now 34, held the World No. 1 ranking for 178 weeks (non-consecutive) and captured nine Grand Slam singles titles – four Australian (1991-1993, 1996), three at Roland Garros (1990-1992) and two US Opens (1991-1992). Her win-loss record at the Grand Slams was a staggering 43-4 at the Australian, 54-8 at Roland Garros, 30-9 at Wimbledon and 53-10 at the US Open. In a career spanning 15 years, she captured 53 singles titles and six doubles titles and collected well over $14 million in prize money. She won three consecutive year-end WTA Championships (1990-1992) and finished as the world’s No. 1 ranked player in both 1991 and 1992.

A natural lefty, wielding double-handed forehands and backhands, she was a determined competitor.  Her footwork was impeccable, her groundstrokes powerful and aggressive, and she constantly attacked her opponents with an arsenal of remarkable weapons. Seles was also known for her “ball-impacting shriek”, the grunt heard across the globe.

At age 19, Seles had already won eight of her nine singles slams and was at the top of her game. Then in April 1993, during a changeover of her quarterfinal match against Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg, a man came out of nowhere, and stabbed her in the back, just below her left shoulder blade. The horror of this event sent shockwaves through the tennis community, and 27 months would pass before Seles played competitively again. When she returned to the courts, she was granted a co-No. 1 ranking (shared with Steffi Graf) and won her comeback event at the Canadian Open, reached the US Open final, and followed up with her ninth Grand Slam singles championship at the Australian Open (1996).

Born December 2, 1973 in Novi Sad, in what was then known as Yugoslavia, she moved with her family to the United States in 1986 at the age of 12 to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. On March 16, 1994, she became a U.S. citizen. Seles would play on the United States Fed Cup team for five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002) posting a career 15-2 singles record and a 2-0 doubles record while helping the Americans capture the Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2000.

Seles remains the youngest champion in history to win at Roland Garros (16 years, 6 months) and was the youngest winner of the Tour Championships (16 years, 11 months) beating Gabriela Sabatini in the first women’s match to extend to five sets since the 1901 U.S. National final. In addition, Seles won the Olympic bronze medal in 2000. Throughout her career, Seles won numerous awards, multiple Player and Athlete of the Year awards, and humanitarian awards. She is an Ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, and also has a monthly spot on CBS This Morning, where she talks about healthy living and lifestyle.

Master Player Nominees (1) Eligibility criteria for the Master Player category: 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.

Spain’s Master Player Andres Gimeno won the French Open in 1972 at the age of 34 years, 10 months, the oldest champion to grace the red clay at Roland Garros. In addition, he reached the final at the 1969 Australian Open; the semifinals at the 1968 French Open and at Wimbledon in 1970; and the quarterfinals at the 1958 Australian Championships, and the 1960 and 1969 French Championships. Gimeno captured seven singles titles and four doubles titles (in the Open era) and reached a career high ranking of No. 9 in the world. As a member of Spain’s Davis Cup team 1958-60, 1972 and 1973, he posted a playing record of 23-10. As an amateur in a country starved for top-ranking sportsmen, he became incredibly popular, as did the sport of tennis, and he became a national hero. In 1960, Gimeno signed on to the professional tennis tour staged by Jack Kramer and was an immediate sensation in the pro ranks – finishing his first series second only to Pancho Gonzalez. Wielding a great overhead smash, strong volleys, a formidable forehand and exceptional grace and balance, Gimeno’s career is highlighted in the sport’s amateur and professional periods, and then crossed into the Open era of tennis.

Contributor Nominees (3) Eligibility criteria for the Contributor category: 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.

Donald L. Dell has spent his life in the forefront of the sport of tennis.  As a player, he was a U.S. Davis Cup team member from 1961-64. As a non-playing captain of the 1968 and 1969 U.S. Davis Cup teams, he became the youngest U.S. captain and the first in 20 years to regain and successfully defend the Cup in consecutive years.  He reached his highest U.S. singles ranking of No. 4 in 1961, and made it to No. 1 in doubles in 1962-63. Dell also represented the U.S. State Department on two world tennis tours (1961 and 1965) and was the first American in history to play competitive tennis in the Soviet Union (1961).

During the Open era, Dell’s business career took off as he dove into the sports marketing and management arena and became the first person to represent and manage the careers of tennis players, beginning with Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith. Players faced an uncertain future as tennis became a professional sport, and Dell persevered to develop future player opportunities, recognizing an athlete’s need for sound career management and the development of effective sports marketing programs. He is credited with having developed some of the most significant and long-lasting partnerships between sponsors and sports properties and he has negotiated over a billion dollars in sponsorships and endorsements.

In 1970, Dell’s own private law practice evolved into Professional Services Inc., (ProServ) which quickly assumed a leadership role in a new sports marketing industry and was the first-ever management company to represent tennis players. As Founder and Chairman, in 1999 ProServ was acquired by SFX as an integral part of its organization. Today, residing under the corporate umbrella of BEST – Blue Entertainment Sports Television – Dell currently oversees and advises many of the group’s global television properties, including the French Open, the US Open, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, of which he is also a tournament founder, in addition to 20 ATP tennis telecasts. After the creation and success of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Dell gave the event to the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation and has assisted in raising over $15 million for children’s tennis programs in the DC area.

In 1972, along with tennis icon Jack Kramer, Dell founded the Association for Tennis Professionals (ATP) as a players’ union and served as its first General Counsel for eight years. An active philanthropist, Dell is the Vice Chairman and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors and a member of both the USTA Public Relations Committee and the U.S. Davis Cup Selection Committee.

Dr. Robert Johnson (1899-1971) is considered by many as the man most responsible for launching the careers of world tennis greats Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, the nation’s first African-American tennis champions. During a time of racial separation, Johnson, through quiet diplomacy, was able to open the doors of competition to young African-Americans barred from mainstream competition. He persevered despite the racial barriers of that time and helped pave the way for minorities to gain acceptance and entrance into tournaments. For more than 20 years, he opened his home to tennis development and training for African-American juniors, providing them with food, equipment, financial support and guidance throughout their development. In addition, many of Johnson’s juniors earned college scholarships.

Through the American Tennis Association (ATA), which was formed in 1916, Johnson created the ATA Junior Development Program. In the 1950s and 1960s, he sponsored, trained and nurtured hundreds of African-American Juniors – and several white juniors – at his Lynchburg, Va. home, where he had a tennis court in his backyard. He initiated the integration of black tennis at the junior level, and worked as coach, trainer, sponsor and fundraiser. He was also publisher of the ATA’s annual program, distributed at the national championships, and his vehicle in keeping the membership aware of the progress of his junior players.

The names of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe and their life achievements will long be remembered in the world of tennis; they are the individuals who broke the racial barriers, and they became champions of the sport through their own athletic abilities. However, it was the artful and insightful groundwork pioneered by Johnson, which gave Gibson and Ashe — and all future black champions — the stage to stand upon and be noticed.

Eiichi Kawatei was born December 10, 1933 in Ashiya City, Japan and 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 (44 in 2003), players, officials, coaches and many official international events (juniors through the pros). He is the former Tournament Director for the Japan Open and Asian Open (both 1977-1986) and founder of the International Club of Japan (1978). In working with the International Tennis Federation (ITF), he has served as a member of the Committee of Management (1981-1997), a member of the ITF Board of Directors (1997-2003) and Vice President (1991-1999). He also served as ITF Representative on Satellite and Challenger Joint Committee (1993-2001), member of the Olympic Committee (1981-2001), and Chairman of the Junior Competitions Committee (1995-2003).  He served as ITF Technical Delegate for the Olympic Games (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008) and has been officially designated an ITF Honorary Life Vice President.  He remains the Japanese Olympic Committee’s Asian Council Representative, a member of their Executive Committee (1991-2003) and Vice President (2003-05).

Kawatei 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 has been Vice President. He is the recipient of numerous awards including 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.

Kawatei has been an active member of the international tennis media, as an international tennis photographer (1968-1981), as a tennis commentator on Japanese TV (1972-1990), and has contributed to numerous books and magazines as a journalist. As a player, Kawatei was a nationally ranked junior and played for Doshisha University (1954-55), where he returned as coach (1960-68, 1990-94).

A panel of International Tennis Media will vote on the Recent Player nominees. 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, 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 date for the Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is slated for Saturday, July 11th, in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (July 6-12) in Newport, Rhode Island. The International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 207 people representing 18 countries since its establishment in 1954. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis and its champions. For more information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum call 401-849-3990 or visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.