Pierre Darmon

Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas To Receive Davis Cup Award of Excellence

NEWPORT, RI — The International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have announced that Guillermo Vilas is this year’s recipient of the Davis Cup Award of Excellence.  Presentation of the award will be made on Saturday, November 22 during the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final between Spain and Argentina to be held in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Presenting this prestigious award to Vilas will be the President of the International Tennis Federation Francesco Ricci Bitti, joined by past award recipients Neale Fraser (2001), Pierre Darmon (2002) and Manolo Santana (2004).

“The International Tennis Hall of Fame and the ITF have the great honor of presenting Guillermo Vilas with this year’s Davis Cup Award of Excellence,” said Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. “Guillermo is one of our great ambassadors of tennis and served Argentina in Davis Cup play for a record 14 years. He is responsible for the growth and popularity of tennis in Argentina, competing so successfully at the highest level of international competition during his career.”

“Guillermo Vilas is synonymous with tennis in Argentina, particularly Davis Cup where he represented his country for 14 years,” added ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti.   “He was instrumental in his country’s march to the final in 1981 and I know that he is very proud that he will be in Mar del Plata to see his Argentinean team attempt to win the title for the first time.”

The purpose of this award is to recognize the importance of Davis Cup by honoring individuals who best represent the ideals of the competition’s founder, Dwight Davis, 108 years ago. The Davis Cup Award of Excellence is presented annually and is voted on by a panel that includes the ITF President, the Chairman of the Davis Cup Committee, the President of the host National Association, a representative of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and a journalist from the host nation. The recipient must be a member of a past or present Davis Cup team, and must be from the country/region where the Final is being held.

Guillermo Vilas, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991, holds the Argentinean Davis Cup records for most total wins (57), most singles wins (45), most doubles wins (12), most ties played (29), most years played (14) and best doubles team (with Jose-Luis Clerc). His overall career Davis Cup win-loss record stands at 57-24 (45-10 in singles and 12-14 in doubles).  A true sportsman, a fiery competitor and all-around team player for his country, Vilas played in 29 ties over 14 years (1970-1973, 1975-1984) and led his country to their first-ever appearance in a Davis Cup final (1981).

Born in Mar del Plata in 1952, the left-handed Vilas became the Latin American sensation that popularized tennis in South America. In 1977 he captured the singles titles at both Roland Garros and the US Open. He went on to win back-to-back Australian Open singles titles in 1978 and 1979. Vilas also reached the Australian singles final in 1977, and three additional French singles finals (1975, 1978, and 1982). He was ranked in the World Top 10 for nine consecutive years (1974-82), reaching the world No. 2 ranking in 1977.

A clay court specialist, Vilas was just as strong from the back court as he was at the net, with a strategic game of tactical mastery to thwart his opponents. He captured 62 career singles titles along with 14 doubles titles. His Grand Slam singles career win-loss results are noteworthy: Australian Open, 23-3; Roland Garros, 56-17; Wimbledon, 15-11; and US Open, 43-14.  He is credited with being the first Argentine to capture a Grand Slam event (1977 Roland Garros) and the first Argentine to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1991). Vilas was also the winner of the last US Open Championship Match played at Forest Hills in 1977.

The Davis Cup Award of Excellence was inaugurated in 2001 by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation.  Past recipients are Neale Fraser (1984 Hall of Famer) of Australia in 2001; Pierre Darmon of France in 2002; John Newcombe (1986 Hall of Famer) of Australia in 2003; Manolo Santana (1984 Hall of Famer) of Spain in 2004; Miloslav Mecir of the Slovak Republic and Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia in 2005; Alex Metreveli of Russia in 2006; and last year, Stan Smith (1987 Hall of Famer) of the United States.

The 2008 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final will be contested at the Estadio Polideportivo in Mar del Plata November 21-23 between Spain and Argentina. The Davis Cup Award of Excellence presentation will be made during a special on-court ceremony, prior to Saturday’s tennis competition.

For more information regarding the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final, including live scoring, visit the official website www.daviscup.com. For more information regarding the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and its programs, visit www.tennisfame.com.

Davis Cup Committee selects Mar Del Plata for 2008 Final

The Davis Cup Committee, in a conference call meeting held earlier today, decided unanimously that Mar del Plata would host the 2008 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Argentina and Spain scheduled for 21-23 November.
This decision was reached after careful consideration of the plans proposed by the Argentine Tennis Association and the site visit reports made by ITF Representatives, immediately after the semifinal and last week in separate visits to Mar del Plata and Cordoba.
The Davis Cup Committee is comprised of chairman, Juan Margets (ESP), Pierre Darmon (FRA), Neale Fraser (AUS), Enrique Morea (ARG) and Alan Schwartz (USA). Although both Margets and Morea contributed to the discussions during the meeting, they recused themselves in the voting as the nations they represent will meet in the 2008 Final.
This was one of the most challenging decisions we have made during my more than a decade-long tenure on the Davis Cup Committee, said Margets, who is also Executive Vice President of the International Tennis Federation that owns and manages the Davis Cup Competition. There were many factors to consider including the wishes of the players to play on an indoor hard court, the feasibility of increasing the venue to the 12,000 seat minimum required in the regulations and other factors that contribute to the success of a Davis Cup Final. In the end, the Committee unanimously felt that Mar del Plata was the most appropriate venue for the 2008 Final.