home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
Asaptext.com
ASAPtext.com
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our
e-Brochure

INTERNATIONAL TENNIS HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY


July 13, 2013


Christopher Clouser

Cliff Drysdale

Martina Hingis

Rod Laver

Charlie Pasarell

Ion Tiriac

Ed Woolard


NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

CHRIS CLOUSER:  We're going to take two minutes of your time before we begin with the inductees for this year.  Today we're here to celebrate the greatest champions in the game of tennis with the highest honor in the game of tennis, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.  It is our responsibility as we administer this one and only International Tennis Hall of Fame to make certain that we stay ahead of the curve and continue to make it the great place it is.  I'm pleased to announce that the Executive Committee and the Board of the International Tennis Hall of Fame have approved a $15.7 million capital improvement program here at the Newport Casino which will begin immediately.
To my left is Ed Woolard, former chairman of DuPont and Conoco and the Apple Board of Directors who is chairing the capital campaign, and he'll tell you where we are.  To my right, Stan Smith, who, as you know, is the President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and for the past two years has been in that position traveling the world, spreading the news about the Hall of Fame.  To his right is probably the greatest player that ever played the game, Mr.Rod Laver, who has been unselfish with his time, his commitment, his love of this game, but also the love of the Hall of Fame of which we are extremely grateful for.  He challenges us to make certain it is the one and only International Tennis Hall of Fame.  He makes certain the museum, facilities and everything here is top flight, because he's top flight.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to call on Ed Woolard who will briefly tell you about the capital campaign and the evolution of this great facility.  Ed?
ED WOOLARD:  Thank you very much, Chris.  Well, it was exactly one year ago today that the board did approve a $15.7 million dollar capital campaign.  It's been 12 years since we had the last campaign, greatly improving the museum as great as you see it and as it is today.  But it's time to move to the next level, the next step.
So there was some skepticism that we could raise $15.7 million, but I am thrilled to tell you that we are off to a great start.  We set for ourselves a goal within one year to raise 70% of the money before we went public, and because of the passion and the interests and the board and a number of local leaders in Newport, we're pleased to announce we have committed $10 million of the $15.7 or essentially 70%.
We're going public with the idea of greatly expanding the opportunity for people interested in supporting the Hall of Fame and the local people in Newport who have been so supportive so far and get great benefits from the Hall of Fame and the tourists and the business that we bring.
So we're off to a great start.  It's a tremendous success so far, and we look forward to keeping you informed.  The major parts of the museum we've spent $3 million of the campaign, we spent $3 million in the museum, about a million dollars to upgrade the stadium.  We have acquired two properties adjacent to Memorial Drive already accomplished, and we're going to build a new indoor tennis facility, and a new facility building for housing our staff and for retail sales and to support the three indoor tennis courts and the three outdoor tennis courts, which we will have at the time.
So that is the essence of what we're doing, and we're just so happy to be able to tell you we're well underway and confident we'll be able to do this.  Thank you, Chris.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  Thank you, Ed.  We'll be distributing the exact details of the plan to you all sometime today.  We'd not be here without the great help of the city of Newport, the state of RhodeIsland, and all sorts of generous contributors.
So you're here for the inductees.  It's my pleasure to ask them to come out if they would, please.  Who should we pick on first?
How about from ESPN, a great Hall of Famer and a wonderful fellow, please welcome Cliff Drysdale.  Are you out there Mr.Drysdale?  I know his wife is here.  There is Cliff Drysdale.
Next, from Romania, a great tournament organizer and wonderful guy, Stan will be introducing these people to you.  But Ion Tiriac.  There is Ion; from the desert and Puerto Rico, a great player and great organizer, please welcome Charlie Pasarell; last but by no means least, the youngest at everything, Martina Hingis.  Martina, come on out.
Stan, the microphone is yours, please.
STAN SMITH:  Thank you, Chris.  It's an exciting day as always for the enshrinement of these great inductees.  It's an honor for me to help introduce them to you and welcome them to the International Hall of Fame.
Please welcome our four new inductees into the International Hall of Fame, Charlie Pasarell, Cliff Drysdale, Ion Tiriac, and Martina Hingis.
First of all, we want to talk about six great champions of tennis who have been inducted into the master category, Master Player Category.  Master Player Category honors individuals who are active in tennis 20 years ago or more, and from time to time, the International Tennis Hall of Fame makes an effort to look even further back in the history of the game to insure that the great champions who shaped the history of the game, long before the Hall of Fame was started are appropriately honored.
As part of the class of 2013, six significant and thoroughly deserving individuals who were active in the 1800s, and 1900s will be inducted posthumously.
The master category inductees are 14‑time champion in her native Australian Championships, Daphne Akhurst.¬† Winner of three Australian championships, singles trophies and active Davis Cup team member for Australia, James Anderson.¬† Three British players:¬† Three‑time Wimbledon champion, Wilfred Baddeley, Blanche Bingley Hillyard who won Wimbledon six times over the span of six years, and Charlotte Cooper Sterry who advanced to nine Wimbledon finals and won five times.
Finally, the outstanding clay court player and three‑time French champion, Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling of Germany.¬† We're pleased to recognize the great achievements by presenting them with the Hall of Fame status.
Also in the Master Player Category, we're pleased to honor the Australian tennis great, Thelma Coyne Long who is 94 years old.  She won 19 major titles in singles, doubles and mixed in the '30s and through the '50s.  Today, Thelma resides in Sydney, and as Chris mentioned, we're delighted to have Rod here to accept the honors on her behalf.
This year, the enshrinees, three individuals who transformed from successful playing careers to dedicated influential leaders in the growth of tennis.
30 years ago, Charlie Pasarell took over the struggling ATP World Tour event in the Coachella Valley and transformed it into a two‑week ATP‑WTA combined event that is among the most exciting and important events in tennis.¬† Under Charlie's leadership, the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells has grown from 30,000 attendees to 370,000 attendees.¬† And the event facilities have grown from one small stadium to a 24‑court facility.
In addition to his work at Indian Wells, Charlie has been the driving force behind many aspects of the game.¬† Having been a co‑founder of the ATP, and the national junior tennis league with Arthur Ashe and Sheridan Snyder.¬† As a player, Charlie achieved the No. 1 ranking in the United States in 1967.¬† He's an important part of the championship U.S. Davis Cup team in 1968, a teammate of mine, and a great friend of mine, Charlie Pasarell.
Coach Drysdale from South Africa went on the air with ESPN for their very first tennis broadcast in 1979 and in the 30‑plus years since has become the sport's most respected voices and ambassadors.¬† Prior to his career in broadcasting, Cliff, was a cofounder of the ATP and served as the organization's first President.
Cliff was ranked among the Top 5 players in the world.¬† He had one of the first great two‑handed backhands, which I saw pass me many times.¬† In 1972, he won the US Open title with Roger Taylor.¬† After a successful playing career, that included winning his 1970 French Open doubles title with fellow Romanian Ilie Nastase, Ion Tiriac turned his attention to growing the game.¬† He worked hard to promote the players, growth of the tournament, and build up television broadcasts.¬† He managed the careers of top players including Guillermo Vilas, Goran Ivani?evic and most notably Boris Becker, who won five grand slam titles while working with Ion.¬† He was also a successful promoter and tournament director for numerous events, including two of the largest Masters 1000 events, the Italian Open, and the Madrid Masters which he still owns today.
Of course, tennis is just one of the many industries which Ion has had great success.  Since the fall of the communist government in his native Romania in 1989, he's worked hard to rebuild the country's economic and social infrastructure, developing businesses and banking, real estate, and other ventures.  He's also an active philanthropist.
Now in the recent player category, Martina Hingis of Switzerland was the World's No. 1 player for 209 weeks.¬† Martina also held the World No. 1 doubles ranking for 35 weeks, making her just one of six women in history who have been No. 1 in singles and doubles simultaneously.¬† Martina is a five‑time grand slam singles champion having won three consecutive Australian Open titles, and one title at each of the U.S. and Wimbledon Championships.¬† She also won nine doubles titles and one mixed doubles title for a total of 15 major grand slam titles.
A sharp tennis strategist, any of Martina's competitors will tell you that her success was enabled by a brilliant and unshakeable mental game.  This my opinion, she's maybe the best strategist in the game, and one of the most complete players on the women's side of the game.
On behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the many tennis fans around the world, it is my pleasure to extend congratulations to Martina, Charlie, Cliff, and Ion.  Welcome to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
We also send congratulatory wishes to Thelma Coyne Long, and also remember the six new master player inductees.
I'd like to thank personally Chris and Mark, and the 23 member international nominating board, which nominated these players, also Chris (Indiscernible), who is on the staff and has been on the staff for 15 years and helped with this whole process.  Chris?
CHRIS CLOUSER:  So those are our inductees.  As is the tradition, we'd like each of the inductees to comment just a moment about what this honor means to them.  I'll call on Cliff first, because he's the one that forgot to turnoff his cell phone.  Cliff Ford, what does this honor mean to Cliff Drysdale?
CLIFF DRYSDALE:  There are so many clichés, Mr.Clouser, that one can come up with about what the game has done for me and I've tried to do for the game in return.  But you make it so easy to make fun of everything because all you ever do is try to make me look as bad as you possibly can, so this is going to be a challenging day for both of us.
I can tell you this, that before the day is out, my time will come.  So I'm strongly suggesting that you withhold your ammunition for a later time.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  Yes, sir.  Yes, sir.
CLIFF DRYSDALE:  Meanwhile Mr.Tiriac here to my right who is used to telling everybody what to do in Europe, you're now in America, Mr.Tiriac, so for the next couple of days, please try to contain yourself.
It's a wonderful honor and great privilege, Mr.Clouser, and thank you for your support in putting me among this austere group of people, including the great "Rocket" Rod Laver who won the grand slam twice, and who I told on the phone two months ago is we don't have to talk every week to know that we're brothers, because we saw each other on the court long enough and in other circumstances to where we just know that.  Thank you, sir.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  Presenting Cliff today will be his son, Greg Drysdale.  Charlie?  To the Pasarells, congratulations.
CHARLIE PASARELL:  Well, it's certainly the ultimate honor and recognition that I can receive in the sport.  I am so proud not just for me, but for my family.  I mean, just look around.  I'm sitting here next to Martina, the greatest of all time in my opinion, Rod Laver, Ion Tiriac, strong forward, and even Cliff Drysdale.
I can't be as funny as Cliff, but these are my buddies.  These two guys to my right, and these two guys to my left.  They're the guys that I had the privilege of sharing many experiences with them on and off the court.  It was not just a part of my life, it was really pretty much my whole life.  So to be recognized today like that is really, truly a great honor.  Thank you.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  Ion, we are honored to have you here.  You're a worthy recipient and so much you've done for the game of tennis.  We're really pleased that you've come in and accepted your induction to the tennis Hall of Fame.  Ion Tiriac.
ION TIRIAC:  Thank you, and on a more serious tone, I'd like to say that the value for me being here today and admitted in this tennis Hall of Fame is the fact that I was admitted by my peers.  Meaning that I never lost an election.  Whatever I candidate for, I arrange myself to win it.  It's not funny.  It's true.
Saying that, I really appreciate it.  More than that, I appreciate that they elect me now when I am 74 and I didn't have to wait another 20 years like the lady in Australia, because I'm not sure if I could make it another four years, not 20 years.
But coming back, I thank you.  I am honestly honored.  I don't know, to be honest, which way my President Mr.Smith voted, but one way or another, I'm not going to ask him.  But I believe that he voted for me to be admitted, because in three finals of the Davis Cup, he beat me three times.  It's true that twice won five sets, but who counts, what counts.
So I believe he wants to make it up a little bit and give me some cookie back.  So for that, that is the reason he admitted me here in this very high tennis society.
Talking about my peers and talking about my people, yes, I was here four years ago with Nastase.  I was here three years ago with Vilas.  I don't know if 20 years or 15 years, I can't even remember, with Becker.  I am today here for myself.  I believe that I am going to come back before you are going to call me that Sachin or Ivanisevic are going to be admitted as well because they are two very big personalities and eventually they deserve it.
I thank you.  I thank my buddies.  When I say my buddies, I really mean it.  These are the buddies that we split our bread and butter sometimes, not all the time.  Where Mr.Laver, the big player gets, I remember the first open at Wimbledon, about 2000 pounds prize money.  I have in Madrid about 2 million now, for men and women the prize money, and they're asking next year to go to 20 million.
I don't know what I'm going to do, but Mr.Drysdale is going to tell me because he lies a lot, and he judges everybody by the measures of monetary value.  Thank you so much.  I thank you.  I really appreciate it, and I am trying to do my bit whenever I am asked in this fine brotherhood society.
I don't want to say anything of Martina, because I've known her since she was an 11 or 12‑year‑old watching her.¬† She was one of the most intelligent players men and woman on attaining score.¬† She cannot match the big girls, but she did with her head most of the things that the others did with their strokes.¬† Congratulations for all of them, and thank you again.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  Thank you, Ion.  Stan has introduced Martina but I was always amazed.  Before her name was youngest ever, youngest ever this, and youngest ever that, and right in front of her name will be the Hall of Famer, youngest ever, Martina Hingis, please.
MARTINA HINGIS:  Thank you.  Since breaking the record, that's why I stopped so early.  Well, obviously, it's a great honor to be part of this elected group of people who I'm sitting here with today.  My mom's here with me today, and I think you talked to her briefly just yesterday because you were her first biggest fan.  No, the other way, she was your biggest fan, and she tried to copy a lot of the things that I was able to play later on.  And Stan, we have great memories in the last three years.  It was a lot together.
Ion, we haven't worked together yet, but in every business you do, you turn into a gold mine, so I hope maybe one day with your tournament in Madrid, we can do something.
Cliff, yeah, lot of great entries together.  I don't know what you were talking in the back scenes, but hopefully only good.  And Charlie, I loved to play your tournament.  Indian Wells and the US Open is one of the greatest tournaments that I always played at and enjoyed playing for you on the big center courts and being part of that.  Thanks for having me here today.  It's just a wonderful day, so hopefully this is only the start of a great ceremony.  Thank you.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  I think it's appropriate to introduce Martina's mother Melanie over here.  She's been her coach and mother and both roles for a long time.
This is unfair, but Rocket, what about this class of inductees?
ROD LAVER:¬† Firstly, I was inducted her in 1981, and we didn't have the fan fare that's going on today thank you, Ion.¬† But it's a huge honor to be elected and be inducted into the tennis Hall of Fame.¬† I'm honored, really, just to be with these champions that are being inducted today.¬† One of my jobs is to induct or be with Thelma Coyne Long who back in the early‑‑ her career was of 20 years from 1935 to 1958, and she won a lot of tournaments around the world, so I'm honored that I'm here to represent Thelma.
I saw her play in the early 50s and into the 60s where she was just an unbelievable talent.  Unfortunately, all of the equipment that people are playing with today, and Thelma had some old racquets.  I'm sure that they didn't last very long the way they were played.  But it is a thrill to be connected to this group of five that have been elected this year, and I'm just happy to stay here, and I know the induction means a lot to all of them.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  I called Thelma Coyne Long in Sydney to tell her she was inducted.  I get that honor as chairman.  She said somebody told me if I got elected a guy would call me and tell me that then Stan Smith would call so we better get off the phone (laughing).
She's going to be watching today.  She's got more spunk than maybe all of us put together.  She's a wonderful lady.  So Ed and I shouldn't be up here.  The floor is yours.  We have a little while to address any questions you may have.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
MARTINA HINGIS:  The biggest influence was always my mom because she was a professional player herself.  She's the one that taught me how to play tennis when I was 2.  Rod told me yesterday that he was one of the big influences on how she wanted me to play.  Another one was Martina Navratilova, obviously, she gave me the name, so that was the destiny that was kind of programmed already.
I did a lot of different sports, but tennis was always the priority.  I started playing at 2 years old, and that was the past.
SPEAKER:  I saw Martina lose in the finals of the U.S. Open Championships to a girl who was 17.  But at that point in time I saw that she had a complete game, great balance on the court, and was able to kind of think her way through matches even at 14.  So that's when I first saw her play.
MARTINA HINGIS:  In the US Open, I loved that match.  It was my first time in the States, and I loved the pretournament first round.  We went out there and I was crying.  I was like I don't feel it.  I had never played on hard courts ever before.  I only grew up playing on clay and then I played on grass.  Still like we play a lot on the carpet, so grass and carpet is pretty similar.
But I was crying.  It was my first round and my mom was like don't worry.  Until the US Open you're going to make it.  We practiced like four hours a day, so I was happy to make it into the finals of the US Open.  And the year after I played The Senior Tour, and I beat on the way to the finals Anna Kournikova, which was a big win.  Everyone was expected, everyone was telling me about it, the press box was full, and that was a great win.  I kind of bageled her.  That was a great match.
Yeah, Melien too; she's now Azarenka's manager.  So she's had a great history in tennis, and she was a very good player at that time.  We built a tennis court, hard court afterwards, so I learned to play on hard courts.

Q.  What do you think of when you hear 1997 player, what are your thoughts?
MARTINA HINGIS:¬† Yes, I just don't like to look at the photos sometimes.¬† Yeah, the Australian Open, obviously, was my first win at a major tournament, and I loved going back there.¬† I was fresh and always prepared to go into the Australian Open, and I think that was the main reason why I always did well there after having a break, a little off‑season.¬† One month of practice and just lost Australia.¬† And then the French, Wimbledon, and US Open.¬† Playing Venus in the US Open finals, we were the youngest finalists at that time, so that was a great match.
It was the only time I was nervous.  I couldn't sleep probably the entire career that I felt like I want to go out there and play and have it behind me, and I came out and played a great match.

Q.  We're here today to celebrate (Indiscernible) what are some of the lessons you learned from losses?
MARTINA HINGIS:¬† I think tennis is one of the most emotional sports because it's week‑in and week‑out.¬† I don't see any other sport that's as fast living as tennis is.¬† You have, like one day, you win Wimbledon, and the next day you lose and you're like the biggest loser again.¬† It's a very emotional roller coaster, and I don't think‑‑ well, on the other hand you have a chance next week again when I lost the '97 finals at the French, there was Wimbledon, and I was even more hungry to try to win that one.
So you have chances but then you also have those pluses.  Obviously, there is one that I wish to play again the '99 finals.  If I had won that easily, no one would talk about it.

Q.  (No microphone).
MARTINA HINGIS:  I love the game, I always did.  That's what kept me out there for many years.  Thanks to my mom for teaching me that, and I'll be forever grateful.  I love the game.  I just love to play tennis.  I'd much rather go out there and run behind the little yellow ball than just go for a jog or biking or anything else.  I just love the sport.  That's why I enjoy going out there with Lindsay who is a great partner and a big part of it.
SPEAKER:  Still playing pretty well too.

Q.  (No microphone)?
CLIFF DRYSDALE:  Yes, we knew it was going to be transformational.  You don't walk out of Wimbledon without some consideration of the consequences, but the consequences were immediate, and the consequences were that the players from that time were consulted because that's what it was about.  It wasn't about money.  It was about being consulted with our future because as you know there were political forces at work, and the players had no say, no input.  It was a very easy decision to make and do what we did.  It was the right thing at the time, and I'm proud of what happened that day.

Q.  (No microphone)?
ION TIRIAC:  It's very difficult for you people, any of you to understand what mean those days coming from one of the communist countries.  99.999% of those people didn't have two liberties.  First, the right for information and the right for circulation.  I always say that myself and Nastase, we are the only two privileged Romanians for one single reason.  That for you it's normal to have breakfast in the morning or a piece of bread in the afternoon, to have the passport to go and to come.
It's true that we always respected the rules.  We played for our countries any time that we are called, and probably that was the best time of my life.  I didn't choose tennis because of tennis.  The first time I had a racquet in my hand is when I was 15.  I never had the racquet before in my hand, and two years after I played Davis Cup.  I was a good athlete.  No talented at all in anything, but at that time I was a very good ping pong player, and I was already in the Olympic squad for hockey.
So the switch, the total switch from hockey to tennis was in '64 up to the Olympics in Innsbruck, and I said enough and enough, and maybe I had one of the very few qualities that I had was to know when it's enough, and I said enough with hockey, and I concentrated on tennis.
Why on tennis?  For commercial reasons.  First of all, because we could go and eventually get under the table $50 a week, or sell cognac in Russia, and come back with watches and sell it in Romania five times more and do trade business all over.  And B, because you could leave every single week.  So, saying that, I jumped from one sport to another.  I didn't know anything else.  Until we arrived to have a team, a reasonable team.  With everyone knew he was coming even though he was playing barefooted because he couldn't have the shoes on his feet against Riessen, I believe, in Egypt.  He threw the shoes and he beat him barefoot.  So we knew that Ilie's going to come, and we knew that Ilie is Ilie, and by the way he just gets married the fourth time three weeks ago, and he did not get divorced yet.
So, what you are left with?  I am left with my memories of playing.  And honest to God, I am left with the memories of getting together every evening and asked how much money I have in the pocket?  $2.  Ask Dominguez how much?  $1.50.  Ask (No microphone), $1, Nastase?  He never has any money.  And so on, and so forth.
So I said, okay.  How much money we have?  $15.  How many pizzas?  Eight pizzas.  So the ten of us had to split it and eat eight pizzas because that's all the money what we did.  But I don't look over my shoulder and I don't regret it at all.
Maybe it's much easier for me to say I don't regret it all because I was luckier in my second life.¬† The rest coaching was the best thing that happened ever in my life, because maybe I had the only talent I had to say no, no, no.¬† Let's try him for a month, and in a month I knew it's good or bad.¬† And without being hot‑headed or big‑headed, I was never wrong, starting with babies, and all of them they are babies.¬† 14, 15, 16, maximum.
I didn't ever take a player that was done to coach him or to bring his water or his racquets or to do his schedule for training.  That's not the coach.  The coach is the guy that knows what the player wants tomorrow without him knowing.  So that's my life career after that.  I say in 1972 after Mr.Smith beat me the third time, enough is enough.  I was 33 already, and I went other directions?

Q.  You've done a lot of things beyond tennis, what is (No microphone)?
CHARLIE PASARELL:  Several.  I don't know which ones, but certainly I think my involvement with running the Indian Wells tournament.  As mentioned, it was a small tournament, the first years it was only about 30,000 people.  But just the fact that we went out and I started figuring out, I said, just like every one of us that play tennis, we didn't play to come in second place.  We always wanted to play to come in first place, and I pretty much wanted to make the best possible tournament that there is.
So I looked around and said, what are the best tournaments?¬† Well, it's easy to find.¬† Look at the grand slams and say that is the direction I need to start moving on, and it takes time.¬† It takes a lot of time.¬† We're still a ways away from that, but by going out and financing, I had to actually get ‑‑ there is no way I could finance a tennis stadium in the '60s.¬† So the only way I could do that was to actually build a hotel, and instead of putting a swimming pool in the hotel, I built a tennis stadium.
That's what I told the bankers.¬† I said this is a swimming pool that will actually make you some money.¬† So we built the high at grand champions, and it didn't take me but three or four years later to figure out that we actually‑‑ the tournament had grown so much that we had outgrown the facilities.¬† So I started looking then for a second venue.
So after many years, we ended up where the tournament is today at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.¬† And once again, I went out and partnered with Mark McCormack, IMG, and we went out and built that site and started building the tournament and secured a Tier 1 women's sanctioned, combined them into a two‑week tournament, which was really following one of the persons that I really admired.
When I said I was looking at the best, the best then was after the Grand Slams with the Key Biscayne tournament.  So Butch was probably one of my greatest advisors.  There were no secrets between us.  So I said I've got to be as good as the Key Biscayne tournament, and we really started moving in that direction.
Now, after 2009, when Mr.Larry Ellison got enthusiastic about our tennis tournament and made us an offer to buy the tournament, an offer we could not refuse.  But it really wasn't so much that.  He was, in my opinion, the perfect buyer because everything he does has got to be the best.  He pretty much has unlimited resources, and you will start seeing pretty soon the results of that.
He's doing about a $100 million dollars expansion to the current site.¬† Building a brand‑new stadium with restaurants.¬† So I feel very good about that.¬† So that is one of the things.¬† But there are other things like the national junior tennis league that's progressed so much.¬† Sheridan Schneider, Arthur Ashe and I, we conceived the ideas.
But the real heros of that are the people on those sites working hard.  And trust me, I've gone to those sites and it's not an easy job where some of these sites are and where they're teaching these kids.  And that, to me, those are the people that deserve all the credit for the national junior tennis league, and I'm so proud of them.  So it's just been a wonderful life in tennis.

Q.  You were a very good player back in the day (No microphone) in '79, did you ever dream you'd talk your way into the tennis Hall of Fame?
SPEAKER:  I didn't put him up to that.
CLIFF DRYSDALE:  That does sound like something that Chris Clouser would say.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  I didn't do that one.
CLIFF DRYSDALE:  It's been a great ride.  It's been a longer ride than my tennis career.  And I've watched that entertainment and sports programming network also known as ESPN grow from what it was to now the most profitable element in Disney Corporation's empire.  Been so good to me all these years.  They've never wavered.  They've pretty much done what I wanted to do.  I'm proud to have been a very small part of building that franchise.  I think there are two things that tennis should be happy that ESPN invests as much as it does in the sport because it's a recognition of the importance of the sport.
Obviously, for ESPN, it's a privilege to be able to carry the US Open exclusively in the next few years, and Wimbledon and our involvement with the French Championships too at ESPN.  Very proud of that association too.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  We have a wonderful tradition at the Hall of Fame when a Hall of Famer's in the room we should always acknowledge him.  In the back corner is Butch Buchholz, the founder of the Key Biscayne tournament and a great player from St. Louis.  Butch, would you raise your hand, please?  There you go.
And about halfway up here is Peachy Kellmeyer who was recently inducted.  She described her induction as spending the day and night with Andre Agassi who was the first employee of the WTA.  So that's Peachy.  Next question?

Q.  That match between (No microphone) and Isner a few years ago.  Could you talk about the great match you had against Gonzalez in 1969.
CHARLIE PASARELL:  That's correct.  And you had to remind me of that.  The irony of the whole thing is we'd probably not be talking about it had I won that match.  I had seven match points but you know it really, and I think this whole group here has had the opportunity and even the privilege to play against Poncho would tell you there is no better fighter that's ever lived in the game than Poncho Gonzales.  He always had a way of trying to find a way to win the match.  With him, there was no quit.  He fought.
But it was kind of an emotional match for me because Poncho, when I was growing up, I really wanted to be the next Poncho Gonzales as a tennis player.  I went to UCLA, and Poncho lived in Southern California.
I used to practice, Arthur and I used to practice with him a lot, Dennis Ralston used to practice with him a lot.¬† We all used to practice with Poncho at the L.A. Tennis Club and the Beverly Hills Tennis Club.¬† And, you know, not only did we practice, but we used to‑‑ I used to ask him millions of questions.¬† He would say, okay, kid, today you only get five questions.
I always remember for those of you who may remember Poncho, he had a scar on his face.  So I said Poncho, how did you get that scar on your face?  He said it's from asking too many questions.  So, Poncho was a character, he was a controversial guy, had a fiery temper like nobody else.
Then after that, he became our Davis Cup coach, so we traveled around the world in a Davis Cup campaign.  So now I have to play him at Wimbledon so I had to really try to tell myself, my God, this is my idol, my hero, my coach, how am I going to go out and play against this guy?  You've got to forget all of that.  He's your enemy now.
So I tried to create a strategy to keep him on the court as long as I possibly could because I figured he was 20‑something years older than I was.¬† So I figured the longer I keep him out here, the better my chances are and the plan worked great.¬† I won the first set 24‑22, and that was a bonus I won the first set.
By the way, I looked at a picture of that match in the exhibit.  And if you guys look at it, and Poncho's argument with the umpire, and I'm standing on the other side of the umpire's chair.  But there are no chairs, there are no chairs out there.  We weren't allowed to sit down.  Remember that, guys?  You were not allowed.
So we were not allowed to sit down, and I remember one of my shoe laces came undone during that match.¬† And I sat down in one of the big tires that the umpire had there.¬† I sat down.¬† And the umpire said Mr.Pasarell, you're not allowed to sit down.¬† And I said I have to tie my shoe laces.¬† He said, I'm sure you can find another way to do that.¬† Stand‑up.
So it was a really emotional match.  It got dark, and we came back the next day.  I'm two sets to love up.  And I figured there is no chance he's going to win the match, and well, guess what?  I was wrong.  I had seven match points, and I ended up losing.  Though Mahut and Isner played a longer match at Wimbledon, I still have the longest match in Centre Court at Wimbledon.
CHRIS CLOUSER:¬† So later today, Ion will be presented by Senator George Mitchell, Cliff will be presented by his son, Greg Drysdale.¬† Charlie will be presented by Jeanne Moutoussamy‑Ashe, and Rocket will accept for Thelma Coyne Long, and Martina will be presented by Phil de Picciotto, the chairman and founder of Octagon.¬† We have to head to Centre Court.¬† We can take one more and then we go.

Q.  Can you talk about how you were the youngest player, (No microphone)?
MARTINA HINGIS:¬† I think the main reason is also because they pushed the age rule to 18, where I was free from 16.¬† I was able to play and be part of the tour.¬† When I turned 14, I played my first tournament in Zurich.¬† Still, I had only 12 tournaments, 15 tournaments, and from 16, I could receive the level of the age group now was 17, 18 to turn pro full‑time and be in the top 30, where today it's like 21, 22.
And I think the four years, sometimes‑‑ yeah, I was never a fan of that age rule because you can drive a car in the States when you're 16, you can do a lot of other things when you're 18, but you only turn pro when you're 18, where I was 14.¬† So I think that's why we see today the four years of difference in the age rule.
I talked about that with Lindsay Davenport sometimes, and she's like by the time I was 22 everyone was giving her a lot of hard time because she still didn't win a grand slam until she was 22.  Where today Azarenka won at 22 the Australian Open and everyone's like she's still so young.  I think that is the biggest difference today because we had so many young champions before.
CHRIS CLOUSER:  Like to thank all of you for coming.  Like to thank ann Marie for all of the arrangements.  Stan, Rod, and our inductees this year, we'll see you on Center Court.  Thank you for coming.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297