Written by The International Tennis Hall Of Fame
NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND, USA -The International Tennis Hall of Fame today announced that Michael Chang, one of only three American men to capture the French Open singles title in the Open era, has been elected for 2008 Hall of Fame induction. Also elected for 2008 induction, in the Contributor category, are Mark McCormack and Gene Scott, both posthumously. McCormack was a legendary sports executive and the founder of International Management Group (IMG), while Scott was the founder and publisher of the national tennis magazine, Tennis Week.
The Class of 2008 Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, July 12 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum in Newport, Rhode Island in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, July 7-13. Since its establishment in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame now honors 207 people representing 18 countries (inclusive of the class of 2008).
“It is truly an honor to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” Michael Chang said upon notification of his election. “It has been an incredible privilege to compete against the best players in the world for over 16 years and I will always cherish and forever remember my experiences on tour with my family, friends and fans. This recognition is without question a testimony of dedication, faith, strength of family, and most importantly, God’s love.”
Michael Chang burst onto the tennis scene by winning the 1989 singles title at Roland Garros, a title that hadn’t been claimed by an American male in 34 years, since Tony Trabert in 1955. His two week run was highlighted by defeating the No. 1 seed Ivan Lendl in five sets (4th round), a come-from-behind victory that lasted well over four hours; he went on to defeat Stefan Edberg in the final, the No. 3 seed, in another five set championship battle. Turning pro in 1988, he won the grand slam title on red clay at a mere 17 years, 3 months; he still holds the record as the youngest male singles champion to win in France. In a career spanning 16 years, Chang reached a career high world ranking of No. 2 and was ranked in the World Top 10 for seven years. He captured 34 singles titles while also reaching 24 tournament finals. He was a finalist at the 1996 Australian Open and a semifinalist in 1995 and 1997; in addition to his Roland Garros win in 1989, he also reached the French final in 1995 and the quarterfinals in 1990-91; his best result at Wimbledon was the quarterfinal in 1994; and at the US Open, he reached the final in 1996, the semifinals in 1992 and 1997, and the quarterfinals in 1993 and 1995. He served the United States in Davis Cup competition (1989-90, 1996-97), winning the Cup in 1990, and posting an overall 8-4 singles record. Known for his quick footwork, tireless two-handed backhand and abundant energy, Chang was a determined, unwavering and courageous competitor.
Mark McCormack (11/8/1930-5/16/2003) is credited with being a legendary executive for literally inventing the field of sports marketing as the founder, chairman and CEO of IMG. In addition to being the world’s largest athlete representation firm, IMG is the largest independent producer of TV sports programming and distributor of sports TV rights. IMG also promotes, manages and owns hundreds of sporting events throughout the world. From representing a majority of top players in tennis for over four decades, to pioneering television coverage globally, to expanding the scope, size, and reach of the world’s foremost events, to his ability in raising thousands of dollars annually for charitable organizations through tennis, to today’s online innovations which enable fans to follow every match point, McCormack’s influence on tennis will be felt for decades to come. McCormack revolutionized the sporting world by establishing athlete representation as a distinct business discipline and by demonstrating the value of sports as a cost-effective marketing tool. This system has given economic health to the players and tennis institutions and the industry as a whole. IMG’s licensing agency, the largest in the world, its literary agency, and its affiliation with recreational amenities and world-class destination venues have further contributed to the sport. McCormack shaped the way all sports are marketed around the world. He was first in the marketplace and his influence on the world of sports, particularly his ability to combine athlete representation and television broadcasting, will forever be a standard within the tennis industry.
Eugene L. Scott (12/28/1937-3/20/2006) was a visionary who touched tennis at virtually every level for more than 40 years. He was a well-known player, writer, editor, publisher and entrepreneur, who influenced the visibility of tennis and created a positive public perception of the sport. Having authored more that 20 books on tennis, he was widely known as the founder (1974) and publisher of the national tennis magazine Tennis Week. Serving tennis from the grass roots novice to the professional players, Scott courageously took on the issues of tennis using the written words of his Tennis Week column “Vantage Point” to educate and exhibit a clear voice of reason in attempts to reach logical, objective conclusions – he wanted to get people thinking. In doing so, he ran the risk of alienating authorities within the game’s power structure, and this undoubtedly led to his being dubbed “the conscience of tennis.” Scott was also one of the television analysts for the famed “Battle of the Sexes Match” between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in 1973; he served as tournament director of more than 200 men’s and women’s tournaments; and he worked as a player agent representing prominent tennis professionals. He was a filmmaker, a lawyer, a businessman, an executive.Scott served as president of the Eastern Tennis Association (1971-72), president of the International Lawn Tennis Association (1965-2006), president of the U.S. International Lawn Tennis Club (1976-1998), Vice President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1981-1997), Counsel to the US Open (1971-75) and a member of the USTA Board of Directors (1995-96). As a player, Scott had a strong serve-and-volley game, and his playing career took him to a career-high world ranking of No. 11 in 1965, ranking in the U.S. Top 10 five times. He was a member of the United States Davis Cup team (1963-65), undefeated in Davis Cup competition, and was both teammate and roommate of Hall of Famer Arthur Ashe. The pair forged a longstanding friendship and in 1968, Scott, in his role as attorney, filed the papers for America’s most prominent grass roots tennis program, the National Junior Tennis League.
Recent Players are eligible for International Tennis Hall of Fame induction if they have been active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration, if they have not been a significant factor on the ATP or WTA tours within five years prior to induction, and they have a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character. Voting for Recent Player ballot nominees is completed by a panel of International Tennis Media. A 75% favorable vote is required for induction.
In the Contributor category, individuals are elected for their 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 tennis activities to be considered. An International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, vote on the Master Player and Contributor ballot nominees. To be inducted as a Master Player or a Contributor, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.
International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum
The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. Established in 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is recognized as the sport’s official Hall of Fame by the International Tennis Federation,the governing body of tennis.
For more information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the Class of 2008 Induction Weekend, and the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, please visit us online at www.tennisfame.com.
Written by The International Tennis Hall Of Fame