By Jack Cunniff
(July 18, 2015) NEWPORT, Rhode Island – The International Tennis Hall of Fame inducted three new members on Saturday afternoon, Amelie Mauresmo and David Hall in the Recent Player category and Nancy Jeffett in the Contributor category.
Mauresmo, who could not attend the ceremony due to the impending birth of her first child, was the first Frenchwoman to ever achieve the No. 1 ranking and won two major events in her career, the 2006 Australian Open and 2006 Wimbledon Championships. Her first significant achievement as a professional was in January 1999, reaching her first major final at the Australian Open. The tennis world took notice of her game, a mix of power and grace, and over the next several years Mauresmo added an effective volley and net game to her repertoire. These added dimensions culminated in her most successful year, when she captured two of the four major events in 2006.
In total, Mauresmo won 25 WTA Singles titles, including the year-end WTA Tour Championships in 2005. She also represented France in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, winning a silver medal in Athens 2004, and was a seven-time member of the French Fed Cup team, including the 2003 squad that won the championship.
Mauresmo retired from professional tennis following the 2009 U.S. Open, but has not disappeared from the tennis scene. Today she is the coach of Andy Murray, the No. 3 ranked player, a rare women’s coach on the ATP Tour. She also successfully coached her countrywoman Marion Bartoli to the 2013 Wimbledon title, and since 2012 has been the coach of the French Federation Cup Team.
David Hall of Australia is a former No. 1 ranked wheelchair tennis player. When he was 16, David was involved in a car accident that resulted in the amputation of both legs. Very soon after, he was inspired when he saw a photograph of a wheelchair tennis player. He used tennis as an outlet, and turned a negative into a positive. His incredibly successful wheelchair tennis career includes six Paralympic medals, including a gold medal in Wheelchair Singles in his hometown of Sydney, and 32 singles championships. Hall was introduced by his former coach, Rich Berman.
Nancy Jeffett was introduced by Hall-of-Famer Pam Shriver. In her comments, Shriver highlighted Jeffett’s accomplishments, most notably co-founding the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation with “Little Mo” Connolly. To this day, the MCB Foundation sponsors junior tennis tournaments, and helps develop and support junior players worldwide. Shriver also noted that Jeffett was influential in the decision to host a 1965 Davis Cup tie featuring Arthur Ashe in a Dallas public park, foreshadowing the move of the U.S. Open to a public facility.
The Enshrinement Ceremony also featured the Hall of Fame ring presentation to Billie Jean King, a 1987 Tennis Hall of Fame inductee.
(November 25, 2014) – The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday the death of 2004 inductee Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney. She was 98 years old. She passed away surrounded by her family in Escondido, Calif. on November 23, following a brief illness.
Cheney first started playing as a young child and was an active competitor well into her 90s. Cheney won an extraordinary 391 gold balls – this is awarded by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to winners of its national titles, amateur or professional, junior or senior. Among her 391 national titles, Cheney was a champion numerous times in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, across various age levels, and on all surfaces.
In 1938, Cheney became the first American woman to win the Australian Championships (now known as the Australian Open). She was a runner up three times in women’s doubles at Grand Slam tournaments and four times in mixed doubles. In addition to her Australian Championships title, Cheney reached four semifinals at the U.S. Championships and one semifinal each at Wimbledon and the French Championships.
Cheney was ranked in the world top-10 in the late 1930s through mid 1940s. She reached a career high of World No. 6 in 1946. She was the No. 3 ranked player in the United States in 1937, 1938, and 1941. She competed against peers including Hall of Famers Helen Wills Moody, Alice Marble, Sarah Palfrey Cooke, and Pauline Betz Addie, among others.
Cheney was the daughter of Wimbledon and U.S. Nationals Champion, Hall of Famer May Sutton Bundy and U.S. Nationals Doubles Champion Tom Bundy. In 2002, at age 85, Cheney and her daughter Christie Putnam won the USTA National Grass Court Super-Senior Mother Daughter Championships.
Cheney was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur. She is survived by two daughters, Christie Putnam and May Cheney; a son, Brian Cheney; eight grandchildren; and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Cheney was passionate about the development of junior tennis players. In lieu of flowers, her family has suggested gifts to the junior tennis program of one’s choice in her memory.
A private memorial service will be scheduled at a future date.
Statement from USTA Chairman, CEO and President Dave Haggerty on the passing of Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney:
“Dodo Cheney was one of the most prolific champions in the history of tennis and the personification of tennis truly being a lifetime sport. She played competitively into her 90s, and her remarkable grace, singular class and competitive spirit made her one of our sport’s greatest ambassadors. She will be sorely missed by the sport that she loved.”
A 2004 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, Cheney was the personification of tennis as a lifetime sport. She became the first American woman to win the Australian Championships (1938) and reached the semifinals at every other major, including four such appearances at the U.S. National Championships. Cheney went on to win more than 390 USTA National titles in a career that saw her play well into her 90s. She was 98.
(February 4, 2014) – The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced the death of Tennis Hall of Famer Louise Brough Clapp, a former world No. 1 player and the winner of 35 major titles. Brough Clapp, who was 90 years old, passed away at home with her family in Vista, Calif. on February 3, following a brief illness.
Brough Clapp was enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1967.
At the Grand Slam tournaments, Brough Clapp won a total of 35 titles- six in singles, 21 in doubles, and eight in mixed doubles. She and her contemporary Doris Hart are tied at fifth on the all-time list for winning the most major titles, behind only Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, and Margaret Osborne duPont.
She appeared in 21 of the 30 finals contested at Wimbledon from 1946 through 1955 in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, ultimately winning 13 titles. In 1950, she achieved a rare triple- winning the titles in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. In 2010, she traveled to Wimbledon to celebrate the 60th anniversary of this great accomplishment.
Brough Clapp partnered with Margaret Osborne duPont to form one of the sport’s most successful doubles pairings. Together, they won 20 titles at majors (12 U.S., five Wimbledon, three French). From 1942 through 1950, Brough Clapp and duPont won nine consecutive women’s doubles titles at the U.S. Championships, which remains the longest championship run in history in any event at any Grand Slam tournament.
In all, Brough Clapp won 13 titles at Wimbledon, 17 titles at the U.S. Championships, 3 titles at the French Championships, and 2 titles at the Australian Championships.
Brough Clapp was ranked in the world top-10 from 1946 through 1957, reaching a career high of world No. 1 in 1955. She was included in the year-end top-10 rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) from 1941 through 1950 and from 1952 through 1957. She was the top-ranked U.S. player in 1947. Her 16 years in the USLTA top-10 trails only Billie Jean King (18 years) and Chris Evert (19 years).
Born March 11, 1923 in Oklahoma City, Okla., Brough Clapp moved to Beverly Hills as a small child. She grew up playing tennis on the public courts at Roxbury Park, and launched her career with great success as a junior player. She won the U.S. 18-and-under title in 1940 and 1941.
Brough Clapp was pre-deceased by her husband, Dr. A.T. Clapp. She is survived by two nieces and two nephews. Funeral services will be private.
by Jack Cunniff
(July 13, 2013) NEWPORT, R.I. – While Martina Hingis headlined the International Tennis Hall of Fame ceremonies as 2013 Recent Player inductee, the event had the decided feel of an Old Boys club, with contemporaries Cliff Drysdale, Ion Tiriac, and Charlie Pasarell sharing the stage as inductees in the Contributor category.
The most decorated of the newest members was actually Thelma Coyne Long, inducted in the Master Player category. Playing from 1935-1958, Coyne Long amassed 20 titles at Grand Slam events while playing from 1935 – 1958, including 19 in her native Australia. Her best discipline was Women’s Doubles, in which she won 13 Women’s Doubles titles. Coyne Long, 94, lives in Australia and couldn’t travel to Newport, RI for the induction, so countryman Rod Laver accepted on her behalf. Laver shared Coyne Long’s accomplishments, not just as a tennis champion, but as a World War II hero. She was awarded an Australian War Medal in recognition of her service in the Red Cross and Australian Women’s Army.
While Laver himself wasn’t being inducted – that event occurred over 30 years ago, in 1981 – he was frequently mentioned by the other honorees. There was a great brotherhood displayed by the 2013 class, as they shared stories of each other. It was obvious that these individuals and their contributions helped to grow the sport, and Hingis’ closing comments would reveal why those contributions make a difference beyond sport.
Ion Tiriac, a former Top Ten player from Romania, was the next inducted, presented by Senator George Mitchell. While a fine player in his era, Tiriac’s induction was the result of his broad contributions to the sport: as a coach, manager, promoter, and tournament director. In his comments, Tiriac reminisced about a five set French Open loss to Laver, and three Davis Cup losses to Stan Smith, who was in attendance as a member and President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Tiriac, who won the 1970 French Open Men’s Doubles with fellow Romanian Ilie Nastase, noted that today’s players make millions of dollars, but “they’re never going to have the ties that we had,” acknowledging the close friendships cultivated with his former competitors.
Cliff Drysdale, like Tiriac, was an accomplished player who has become better known for his other contributions to tennis. Drysdale was presented by his son, Greg, who marveled at his father’s 34-year career in tennis broadcasting. In fact, “Cliffie” was part of ESPN’s first tennis broadcasts back in 1979. Drysdale, born in South Africa but now a U.S. citizen, spoke fondly of his generation of players as well. He shared his memories of the locker room emptying out to watch Laver hit topspin backhands, and Pasarell’s “cockamamie” dreams of forming the Association of Tennis Professionals. Cliff also thanked his ESPN colleagues in attendance: Patrick McEnroe, Chris Folwer, Chris McKendrick, and Pam Shriver.
The third Contributor inducted was Charlie Pasarell. Pasarell was the top-ranked American player in 1967, but beyond his on-court accomplishments, he co-founded the National Junior Tennis League and was tournament director in Indian Wells. Pasarell was a former UCLA teammate and roommate of the late Arthur Ashe, and it was Arthur’s wife Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe who presented Charlie. The rain showers that briefly interrupted the ceremonies were “tears of joy” from Arthur for his good friend’s achievement. The breadth of Pasarell’s accomplishments in tennis was evident by the long and varied list of people he thanked in his comments.
While the most recent Contributor members of the Hall of Fame shared memories of their generation, the Recent Player inductee, Martina Hingis, is from a different age. Only 32-years old, Hingis is one of the youngest Tennis Hall of Fame inductees. In her era, Hingis didn’t face the challenge of growing tennis as a professional sport. Instead, the international scope of tennis provided Hingis an opportunity to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. Born in Czechoslovakia in 1980, Hingis’ mother and coach, Melanie Molitor, saw tennis as a means for relocation and greater opportunity in Switzerland. Hingis, was named for the legendary player Martina Navratilova, and she noted that the original Martina was not just a great player but also a symbol of freedom, having defected from Czechoslovakia in 1975. Hingis’ tennis accomplishments are vast. Fifteen titles in Grand Slam events, including five singles titles and a calendar year Grand Slam in Women’s Doubles in 1998. Over 200 weeks spend as the top ranked woman in the world. Eighty-one total titles in her career, including 43 singles titles. But Hinigs didn’t focus on those achievements in her comments. Instead she explained that the sport, grown through the dedication of her 2013 Hall of Fame inductees, gave her freedom and a better life.