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Pasarell, Drysdale, Tiriac To Join Hall Of Fame

New Inductees

Pasarell© Getty ImagesCharlie Pasarell with BNP Paribas Open owner Larry Ellison.

ATP founding fathers Charlie Pasarell and Cliff Drysdale will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in July, it was announced today. Pasarell and Drysdale will be inducted alongside Romanian tennis legend Ion Tiriac, also elected in the contributor category.

International Tennis Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, who also serves as chairman of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee, said, "Cliff, Charlie, and Ion all had success in tennis at the top levels, but they also had visions for the sport's immense potential for growth, and they have dedicated their lives and careers to making that happen. Tennis is better for having had the leadership of these three men, and Hall of Fame enshrinement is a well-deserved tribute in recognition of all they have done for our sport.”

“To be enshrined into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport is the ultimate honour one can receive in the sport of tennis,” Pasarell said. “I am humbled by it and it is a daunting experience to have your name put alongside some of the people you have idolised and admired over the years.

It will be extra special to be inducted at the same time as Cliffy and Ion. Cliff and I have been friends for a long, long time, going back to when we were playing on the tour together. After tennis we’ve remained close, although unfortunately it’s only golf we play together now.  Ion is also someone I have known and admired for a long, long time and he’s a very, very good friend as well. We have done some business together and I have the greatest admiration for what he has done for tennis in Europe, in Germany and now Spain. He is very well deserving of this honour.”

Former WTA World No. 1 Martina Hingis and Thelma Coyne Long, the Australian winner of 19 Grand Slam tournament titles between the 1930s and 1950s, will also be inducted during the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island.

Cliff Drysdale
After a successful playing career in the 1960s and 1970s and a leadership role in the launch of the ATP, Cliff Drysdale turned his attention to tennis broadcasting, and for more than thirty years, he has been one of the most respected and appreciated voices of the sport. Drysdale, 71, has been on the air with ESPN since the network's very first tennis telecast- a Davis Cup match between the United States and Argentina on September 14, 1979, just one week after ESPN's debut. In the thirty-plus years since, Drysdale has called all four Grand Slam tournaments and countless important moments in tennis history. Known for his insightful analysis and engaging delivery, Drysdale was named "Best Tennis Announcer" by the readers of Tennis magazine four times. In addition to his television coverage, Drysdale has been a regular contributor to Tennis magazine for more than 15 years. He has played an integral role in sharing the greatest stories of tennis, and has been an influential ambassador for the sport.

Drysdale was a member of the original "Handsome Eight" of World Championship Tennis, the tour that laid the groundwork for a viable men's professional tennis tour, and he was one of the world's top players at the dawn of the Open Era. With his contemporaries, he was a co-founder of the ATP, which was developed to give players a unified voice and in structuring the professional game for the Open Era. Drysdale served as the organization's first president, in 1972 - 1974.

Originally from South Africa, but now a United States citizen, Drysdale was ranked in the year-end world top-10 six times and achieved a career high ranking of world No. 4. Drysdale was a finalist at the U.S. Nationals in 1965, and he won the US Open doubles title in 1972 with Roger Taylor. He won 35 singles titles and 24 doubles titles, and during his career he notched wins against some of the greatest champions of the sport including Rod Laver, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, and Ilie Nastase. Drysdale was a member of the South African Davis Cup team for eight years.
 
 Today, in addition to his media work, Drysdale continues to take an active role in working to grow interest in the sport. Through his tennis management company, Cliff Drysdale Management, he works with tennis clubs and resorts on tennis programming development, operations, and tennis education programs.
 
Charlie Pasarell
Charlie Pasarell, 69, is most recently best known as the past tournament director, managing partner, and former owner of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., but his contributions as a tennis industry leader have spanned all levels of the sport and have been a driving force in the growth of the tennis for more than 40 years. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Pasarell has been a longtime resident of California.

Pasarell's leadership activities were preceded by a successful playing career in which he achieved the No. 1 ranking in the United States in 1967. He was a member of the United States Davis Cup team for five years, including the championship team in 1968. Pasarell won 18 singles titles, including the U.S. National Indoor Championships in 1966 and 1967. Also in 1966, he was the NCAA Singles and Doubles champion, playing for UCLA.

A focus of Pasarell's tennis career has always been finding ways to utilise the game to give back to the community. At the height of his playing career, in 1969, Pasarell partnered with Arthur Ashe and Sheridan Snyder to launch National Junior Tennis League. The goal of the organization was to have a positive impact on at-risk children by introducing them to tennis to keep them off the streets and to encourage them to stay in school. Today, the program continues to be the largest grassroots tennis program in the United Sates, with more than 950 chapters.

In 1971, as tennis was in the pivotal transition to the Open Era, Pasarell and a group of his fellow players founded the ATP, with the goal of giving players a voice in the structuring the new professional game. Over the years, Pasarell has remained highly active in the leadership of the organisation and the development of men's pro tennis. He served as an active board member in the critical early years, from 1971 - 1978. When the Men's International Professional Tennis Circuit became the ruling body of men's tennis from 1986-1990, Pasarell served as a tournament representative on the board. When the ATP World Tour began in 1990 Pasarell was once again elected by the tournaments to serve as their representative, and he was re-elected to the position every year for 20 consecutive years, until he retired in 2010.

In 1981, Pasarell took over as tournament director of the ATP World Tour event in the Coachella Valley of California. At the time, the event was struggling and in danger of being removed from the region. Under Pasarell's leadership, the event has grown to be the largest two-week combined ATP and WTA tennis tournament in the world and the most well-attended tennis event after the four Grand Slams. The tournament has grown from 30,000 attendees to more than 370,000, and the television broadcast has grown from reaching 25 million homes to more than one billion homes worldwide. The growth has necessitated new, state-of-the-art tennis facilities, taking the venue from a 7,500-seat stadium court to a 24-court, 54-acre complex including a 16,100-seat main stadium, seven smaller stadiums, and 44 luxury suites.

After more than 30 years working on the event, Pasarell announced his departure from the BNP Paribas Open in 2012. He remains active in tennis industry programs and is currently working on the development of a residential golf community in his native Puerto Rico.
 
Ion Tiriac
A successful doubles player turned tennis power broker, Ion Tiriac, 73, has been an influential tennis leader in roles ranging from coach to player manager to tournament promoter.

In the 1970s, Tiriac and fellow Romanian Ilie Nastase partnered to form a successful doubles team. Tiriac took on a mentor type role in the partnership, and parlayed that experience into a successful career in tennis administration. Tiriac took a sharp, business-like approach to tennis and he worked tirelessly to promote the players, grow the tournaments, and build up interest in the sport through television broadcasts.

He went on to manage the careers of top players including Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas, Mary Joe Fernandez, Goran Ivanisevic, and most notably, Hall of Famer Boris Becker, who won five Grand Slam titles while working with Tiriac.

In addition, Tiriac was a promoter and tournament director for numerous events including the ATP World Tour's season-ending Masters Grand Prix, and two of the largest Masters 1000 events, the Italian Open and the Madrid Masters. He is still an active leader on the Madrid Masters, and under his leadership the tournament has grown immensely, and is one of the most well attended annual events in Spain. In addition, he continues to promote tennis in his home country of Romania and is the owner/promoter of the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy, an ATP World Tour 250 event held annually in Bucharest.

As a player, Tiriac was an instrumental part of Romania's Davis Cup team, competing for 15 years, and helping the team advance to the finals three times. In 1970, he partnered with Nastase to win the French Open doubles title.

Known for his no-nonsense demeanor, Tiriac is also highly regarded as a philanthropist and community leader who has the vision and ability to make positive changes happen. In addition to his tennis work, since the fall of the communist government in Romania in 1989, he has worked to rebuild the country's economic and social infrastructure, developing business in banking, real estate, and leading social services initiatives.

The Class of 2013 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 13, 2013. The ceremony will be a highlight of the Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend, which will also feature the unveiling of museum tribute exhibits for the new Hall of Famers, grand 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 HallofFameTennisChampionships.com or by phone at 401-849-6053.

The five new Hall of Famers are joining elite company among the world's best tennis players and industry leaders and innovators. Since 1955, the honor of enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been presented to just 224 people. Hall of Famers hail from 19 countries- a testament to the global appeal of the sport.
 
Individuals are eligible for Hall of Fame enshrinement in three categories, Recent Player, Master Player, and Contributor. The International Media Panel, which is comprised of tennis journalists and authors, vote on the Recent Player Category. The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Famers and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, vote on the Master Player and Contributor categories. To be elected in any of the categories, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.

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.

 

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