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Hingis Headlines International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees

Former No. 1 Martina Hingis headlined this year's list of International Tennis Hall of Fame inductees that was announced today in New York.

By Erik Gudris

Martina Hingis (March 3rd, 2013) - The International Tennis Hall of Fame looked into the sport's immediate and deep past in selecting this year's inductees that include a former No. 1 and several key architects of the modern ATP tour that we know today.

Martina Hingis, winner of 43 career singles titles and a total of 15 career Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles, was selected in the recent player category.

One of only five WTA players to be ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles at the same time, Hingis earned her place inside the Hall of Fame despite a turbulent end to her pro career that included a positive test of cocaine in 2007 though Hingis denied any such use. Hingis retired in the same year rather than serve a two-year ban from the sport issued by the ITF.

Though controversy and a love/hate relationship with the sport often punctuated her career, in recent years Hingis has made peace with tennis and recently competes in World Team Tennis.

"Being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor. It is truly a privilege to be part of such an exclusive group of tennis icons," said Hingis in a statement. "I am looking forward to the enshrinement weekend in Newport and to being welcomed in by the other Hall of Famers."

Cliff Drysdale may be known to most tennis fans as the silky-voiced ESPN analyst, but his legacy in the game goes far beyond his on-camera work. Drysdale achieved a career high ranking of No.4 in the world and was a finalist at the U.S. Nationals in 1965. He won 35 singles titles and 24 doubles titles in his career.

After his pro career ended, the South African-born Drysdale then turned his attention to growing the sport worldwide. He took a leadership role in the formation of what would become the modern ATP tour while at the same time jumping into tennis broadcasting. For over 30 years, Drysdale has covered tennis for ESPN starting back in 1979 with the network's first tennis telecast of a Davis Cup match between Argentina and the U.S.

“Cliff is one of the special voices in sports television and few in any sport have combined such an outstanding career in competition with leadership roles off the court and we are proud to call him our own,” said John Skipper, ESPN president.

Charlie Pasarell earned the U.S. No. 1 ranking back in 1967 and won 18 singles titles in his career. But like many of his fellow inductees, Pasarell's biggest accomplishments have been off of the court.

Pasarell was one of the leading members of a player's group that went onto form the modern ATP tour in 1971. He helped found the National Junior Tennis & Learning organization to help at-risk youth learn about tennis and encourage them to stay in school. Most recently, he served as tournament director for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells until he stepped down in 2012.

Ion Tiriac has had a hand in shaping the careers of numerous players and continues to be one of the sport's biggest and most controversial power brokers. In the 1970's, Tiriac partnered with fellow Romanian Ilie Nastase to form one of the most successful doubles team of that era.

But after Tiriac hung up his racquets, his influence on tennis was just beginning. He became a successful manager for players such as Guillermo Vilas, Mary Joe Fernandez, Goran Ivanisevic and Boris Becker who claimed five Major titles while with Tiriac.

Tiriac went on to serve as a tournament director for numerous events including the end of year Masters Grand Prix event. Last year, Tiriac introduced blue clay courts at the Madrid Masters in a move that drew mixed opinions from the tennis world. At age 73, Tiriac is still active in growing the sport even if he does ruffle a few proverbial feathers along the way.

In the Master Player category, Australia's Thelma Coyne Long was honored with induction based on her stellar career in the 1930's and 1950's. She won 19 Grand Slam titles including winning the singles, doubles and mixed doubles Australian Open titles in 1952.

Some notable names that often come up for consideration were not on the list for this year. They included Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Michael Stich, Helena Sukova, and iconic American tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.

The Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony will be held on July 13, 2013 in Newport, Rhode Island.

(Photo Credit: AP)


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