If there were such a thing as an all-court game off the court, Jane Brown Grimes would be the quintessential example.
The tireless behind-the-scenes stalwart - who's worked with organizations including the Women's Tennis Association, United States Tennis Association and International Tennis Federation - was awarded a place in the International Tennis Hall of Fame Saturday in Newport at its annual induction ceremony.
"She has served tennis on every level," said legend Chris Evert in her introduction of Brown Grimes. "Her skilled diplomacy was key to the survival of the WTA."
A one-time magazine journalist, Brown Grimes headed the WTA's Women's Tennis Council at a pivotal time in the organization''s history, as the tour stepped away from the Virginia Slims sponsorship deal that made women's tennis global in the mid 1980s and into partnerships that aligned more with the brand.
But that is just first serve in what is a massively dynamic and accomplished Brown Grimes arsenal. The Pennsylvania resident has held leadership roles at the International Tennis Hall of Fame as well as the WTA, and the USTA, the former where she was president from 2007 to 2009, helping to oversee the successful launch of 10 & Under Tennis. Additionally, Brown Grimes has served on several committees for the ITF.
"I feel so lucky to have played a small role in this amazing tennis story," Brown Grimes told the audience in attendance Saturday.
"It's a pretty unique résumé when you've led three different organizations in this sport," said former player Pam Shriver. "It always struck me how much she cared for every level of the game. Whether it was the history of the game or the women's game, the professional game, the grassroots game, the inner-city game... Not many people can say that."
Brown Grimes' tennis career began in 1977 with a visit to the Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, later that year opening the organization's New York City office and becoming the executive director in 1981. She left for the WTA in the mid '80s, then spent another stint at the Hall of Fame beginning in 1991. She's now the Hall of Fame's President Emeritus.
"It goes by with a blink of an eye," Brown Grimes said Saturday. "I started about 40 years ago right here in this room, on these grounds. I just have loved what I've done over the years."
"For her to have the USTA as the third organization that she rose to the top of, that is what has made her so unusual," Shriver added about Brown Grimes' two-year role. "I don't think anyone will do what she's done again."
Brown Grimes is currently pursuing a Masters of International Relations at Cambridge University in England.
"Frankly, working in the sport has always been enough of a reward," Brown Grimes added. "When this happened, I couldn't believe it. It really is overwhelming and such a wonderful honor. I'm enormously pleased to be here and be a part of this class with these other great people."