World Tennis Day A Global Hit
Published March 03, 2014 12:14
Tennis was celebrated on Monday with World Tennis Day, with announcements, exhibitions and grassroots programs helping the sport reach as many people in as many places as possible.
Having made its debut last year, World Tennis Day is a celebration of tennis around the world in which the ITF works with national associations to host events to promote participation in the sport.
"The inaugural World Tennis Day proved to be a very successful initiative, using high profile special events to bring high profile special events to bring attention to the developmental activities of our member nations on every continent," Francesco Ricci Bitti, President of the ITF, said. "The enthusiasm and commitment of our National Associations to World Tennis Day in its first year was inspiring."
Over 80 of the ITF's member National Associations - from Argentina to South Africa, Egypt to Iran and the US to the UK - joined some of the world's leading tennis stars in the celebrations, with open houses, clinics, exhibitions and announcements - and there was one big announcement in particular...
At the International Tennis Hall Of Fame, and to coincide with World Tennis Day, three-time Grand Slam champion and former World No.1 Lindsay Davenport was announced among the Class Of 2014.
"I'm so honored by this incredible recognition," Davenport, also a former No.1 in the world in doubles, said of the announcement. "I feel very blessed to have had a wonderful tennis career, and now, to be recognized alongside the great champions who have always inspired me is just a tremendous honor.
"I look forward to celebrating with the other members of the Class of 2014 in Newport this summer."
Also among the upcoming Class Of 2014 were Jane Brown Grimes, who has held executive leadership roles with the WTA, USTA and International Tennis Hall Of Fame, five-time Paralympic medalist Chantal Vandierendonck, legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri and broadcaster John Barrett.
Three "Showdown" exhibitions took place around the world as well - in Hong Kong, London and New York City. The WTA spirit was represented in Hong Kong as Li Na and Sam Stosur played the BNP Paribas Showdown at the Hong Kong Velodrome - Stosur won the match, 64 63, and though Li is ranked much higher it's not a huge shock given Stosur has won all six of the pair's WTA meetings.
And just in case you need any more convincing of how big a day this is, here's a few more tidbits...