ARTHUR R. ASHE JR.
Few athletes of our generation have combined superlative talent and performance with warmth, dedication, leadership, and sportsmanship of Arthur Ashe.
Ashe was the first winner of an "open" championship in the United States in 1968 as competition rules were changed to permit both pros and amateurs to compete for the national title. He couldn't take the money, however, because he was a U.S. Army lieutenant getting his hotel and $20 a day expenses. But the Richmond, Virginia recreation leader, who specialized in working with youngsters, gradually made up for lost time by winning the Australian title in 1970, the World Championship Tennis singles in 1975, and 27 out of 32 singles matches in Davis Cup play.
In 1975, Ashe accomplished one of tennis' greatest feats - he won the coveted Wimbledon title. A nagging injury slowed him down in 1977-1978, and then, in 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack. In 1980, however, he became the Davis Cup captain. Under his leadership the U.S. won the Davis Cup the next 2 years.
Ashe attended UCLA where he was a three-time-All-American and NCAA singles and doubles champion in 1965. In addition to his U.S. Open and Wimbledon titles, Ashe has won the Australian Open, the U.S. Clay Court Championships and the WCT Finals. He was ranked number one in the world in 1968 and 1975, and was elected to the International Tennis Hall Of Fame in 1985.
Ashe has served for over twenty years as a dedicated and hardworking volunteer within the Eastern Section and at the national level with the USTA. A longtime resident of New York, Arthur Ashe has been a U.S. Emissary, traveling extensively as one of the games most highly regarded authorities and most widely respected individuals.
From a childhood on the streets of Harlem to the magnificent green lawns of Wimbledon, Althea Gibson has been a dynamic and successful pioneer for tennis. She became the first black person to play in the U.S. Championships at Forest Hills and at the All-England Club, and won both tournaments in convincing fashion.
The 1953 Florida A&M graduate was a winner of the USLTA Eastern Indoor Championship in 1950, she was the runner-up to Nancy Chafee Kiner for the USLTA National Indoor title in 1950. In 1956, Gibson won her first major championship, the French National, and from there, success was inevitable. In 1957 and 1958 she achieved victory with consecutive U.S. and Wimbledon singles championships. In 1956, 1957, and 1958 she won the Wimbledon doubles title with a different partner each year.
Teamed with Darlene Hard, Gibson won the doubles title and at the conclusion was introduced to and congratulated by Queen Elizabeth II. Upon her return to New York, she was greeted with a tickertape parade and an official reception.
Turning pro after her second U.S. Championship, wanting more from her talents, she emerged in her forties as a professional golfer. Gibson who resided in East Orange, New Jersey, retired a few years ago and is now a top teaching tennis professional.
Published in 1958, her autobiography entitled "I Always Wanted To Be Somebody" is a true depiction of her struggle. Althea Gibson made her mark in tennis history and served as an inspiration to many as she paved the road to victory. She was elected to the International Hall of Fame in 1971.
SARA PALFREY DANZIG
If a course was given on "How To Conduct Yourself As A Champion", Sarah Palfrey Danzig would be the ideal teacher and role model. While she certainly competed furiously, it always was with tremendous grace, charm and sportsmanship.
Danzig who was elected "Massachusetts' Greatest Woman Athlete" in 1953, was best known for her sweeping backhand and keen competitive spirit. A winner of 24 national events, including the 1938 and 1939 Wimbledon doubles titles, she twice won the U.S. Grass Courts singles title and was a nine-time Grass Courts doubles champion. She also captured a U.S. Clay Courts Singles Championship and a U.S. Indoor Singles title; and was a member of America's Wightman Cup team from 1930-39 which recorded victories 1931-39. She was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1963.
A resident of New York City, Palfrey Danzig has dedicated most of her post-competitive tennis life to contributing to the growth and popularity of the game, as well as bettering her community and society. Among her involvements have been serving as a member of the Eastern Tennis Patrons from 1962-67; serving as chairman of special events for the Child Study Association of America from 1963-67; and participating as a member of the Trustee Community Service Society of New York from 1966-76. Her active associations today involve membership on the Executive Committee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Inc., as well as the Lawn Tennis Writers Association of America. She is the author of two popular tennis books in addition to contributing numerous articles to prestigious magazines.
WILLIAM F. TALBERT
Although Bill achieved his greatest on-court success in the 1940's, the world of tennis has felt his impact over the past four decades. A true sport-sman, Bill Talbert has enjoyed a successful tennis career both on and off the court.
In 1942, 1945, 1946, and 1948 he was the United States National Doubles Champion with Gardner Mulloy. A consistent player, Talbert was ranked in the top 10 by the United States Tennis Association for a remarkable 12 consecutive years. He was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team 1948-1954.
As his playing career drew to a close, Talbert devoted his knowledge of the game, candor, sensitivity and perseverence to being a tennis coach, administrator and philanthropist. From 1953-57, he captained the U.S. Davis Cup Team, successfully leading his squad to the Challenge Round each of the five years he served.
Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1967, the Cincinnati-born Talbert turned his attention to tournament administra-tion, becoming the tournament director of the U.S. Open, then at Forest Hills, in 1970.
On his first day at his new administrative post, one he would hold for 15 years, Talbert made a major change in the tournament format – he instituted the sudden-death tiebreaker.
"Tennis needed a finish line," stated Talbert. "Sudden-death provided the same kind of excitement found in football and basketball in the final few minutes."
In addition to overseeing many on-court aspects of the Open, it was Talbert who first introduced charity involvement to the game, having the U.S. Open benefit the American Diabetes Association. An accomplished author, the New York City resident has penned such tennis books as Playing for Life, Tennis Observed and The Game of Singles in Tennis, as well as being a contributing editor to Sports Illustrated.
Talbert, a holder of 39 national titles, is currently a senior vice president with the American Banknote Corporation and vice chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Foundation. He has done much to elevate the game of tennis in the United States and internationally to the level of popularity that it possesses today.
A gentleman of distinction and goodwill, Hy Zausner has unselfishly left his mark on Eastern tennis and the many youths whose lives he and the Port Washington Tennis Academy
(PWTA) have touched.
In the early 1960's, Zausner began working with problem youths in the metropolitan area, most of them drug abusers with little or no future. Viewing the growing problem of drug addiction first hand, he realized that a permanent cure to a youth's dependence on drugs was usually impossible. Children were often able to "clean up" for a short period of time, but without challenges or goals towards which they could direct their energies, they often reverted back to drugs. The problem youths, Zausner realized, needed an activity through which they could learn discipline, self con-trol, honesty and sportsmanship. It was then that he met Nick Bolletieri, Who suggested Zausner try channeling the youngsters energies towards a more positive outlet - tennis.
Under Bolletieri's personal instruction, Zausner picked up a racquet for the first time and saw the potential of tennis as a tool to reach the troubled youths. In 1966, Hy Zausner founded the PWTA with the underlying idea, "If we can get kids hooked on tennis, they will not get hooked on drugs."
He started the academy with a few outdoor courts and a further theory of peer pressure - - by motivating children to perform with other juniors at their highest level, drugs, alcohol and other harmful substances would not be a part of their lives. Zausner's concept proved successful and he has expanded the original facility to a fully equip-ed modern sports academy including 13 indoor courts, six outdoor courts, whirlpools, exercise classes, a library, study hall, and most importantly career counseling.
Although Zausner's aim was not necessarily to develop outstanding tennis champions - - but, instead, to provide a healthy, learning environment - his academy has graduated such great stars as John McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitis and Peter Fleming. "We did not make champions out of them," Zausner states modestly, "but rather, our program and method of teaching gave them the opportunity to develop their championship potential."
The PWTA is a non-profit, charitable institution; tuition is charged only to those parents who can afford to pay, while those who are unable can apply for scholarships for their children. Tuition does not cover all of the academic expenses. The PWA operates each year at a deficit which is made up by contributions from the friends of the academy and the Zausner family who work without salary. Zausner will do what he can for those who cannot afford to join, including making them feel equal to others. He claims to grow more fond every day of what he has created. As he states: "Kids keep me going.”
If there is one word that would sum up Leslie FitzGibbon, it might be "involved." Les FitzGibbon has dedicated his time and energies to the development of the Eastern Tennis Association and the United States Tennis Association as a volunteer, administrator and player for more than 40 years.
From 1968-1969, FitzGibbon served as President of the ETA. He also has been chairman of the membership and delegate committees of the ETA and was secretary from 1966-1967. Since 1966, FitzGibbon has been director of the USTA Booth at the US Open and was treasurer of the USTA in 1977 and 1978. He has been a member of the USTA's Nominating, Membership, Information, Budget and Finance Committees, and presently is involved with the USTA Davis Cup and Olympic Committees. He has been chairman of the Stevens Cup Committee, IF international team competition for men 45 and over, since 1978. He serves as Chairman of the USTA Senior Grass Court Championships and is Captain of the Britannia Cup, ITF international team competition for men 65 and over.
The Garden City, New York, resident was ranked in the ETA Men's Doubles and is presently a top senior tournament player. Although he has always enjoyed tennis as a participant, he counts as one of his greatest thrills having his son, Herbert S. FitzGibbon, compete at Wimbledon. Throughout the years, they have teamed up in several tournaments, including both the Eastern and National Grass Court Father and Son events. In 1962, they took the national title.
Since his graduation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1935, Les FitzGibbon has been president of Pilot Packing Co. Inc., a manufacturing representative in the railway supply business.
Allison Danzig's many contributions as a tennis journalist more than established him as one of the greatest authorities on the sport. He was respected by many and always wrote with sagacity and precision. Remembered by friends as the "Gentleman From the Times," there were very few players, officials or colleagues in the media who did not seek his guidance.
The Texas born Al Danzig, who later resided in Ramsey, New Jersey, was the first journalist ever to be elected to what is now the International Tennis Hall of Fame. His college years at Cornell University demonstrated a well thought out blend of athletics and academics. In addition to his involvement with the varsity football team, he earned an AB degree in journalism in 1921.
Throughout his illustrious career, he was acclaimed for his distinguished sports reporting. His first job after graduation was with the now defunct Brooklyn Eagle as a sportswriter. It was there that he covered his first big tennis tournament in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. In 1923, he began his 45 year career with the New York Times, as a sportswriter covering tennis, football and crew rac-ing. He covered five Olympic Games -Los Angeles, London, Helsinki, Melbourne and Rome - as well as every national tennis championship. During his affiliation with the Times, Danzig managed to find the time to write and edit several books. These include " The Racquet Game?" and "Elements of Lawn Tennis" and "The Winning Gallery, Court Tennis Matches and Memories."
A long time member of the U.S. Tennis Writers Association, which he served as its president, he was honored by many prominent organizations. Columbia University developed the Allison Danzig Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the annual Columbia-Cornell tennis matches. Also, the Longwood Cricket Club has established the Allison Danzig Award for distinguished tennis writing.
Among many other posts, Danzig served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the National Tennis Foundation and Hall of Fame.
It is a pleasure to acknowledge a man whose zestful and unrelenting lifetime contributions to tennis and to those around him made him a leader in the sport.
If he was not writing the rules, Jack Stahr could be found at any major tournament calling the shots. He was a top chair umpire for more than 20 years and was chairman of the first USTA Rules Interpretation Com-mittee. His book, "Friend At Court, " is considered by many experts to be the definitive authority on rules interpretation.
After graduating from Butler University in 1927 with a BA in English, Stahr's career moved along rapidly. In 1929, he became sports editor of the South Bend Tribune, a position he held for four years. He served as a sportswriter with the Associated Press in Chicago and New York from 1933-1936, and then began his 38 year public relations career as editorial director of Carl Byoir and Associates, Inc.
A native of Indiana, Stahr resided in Larchmont, New York, for 40 years. He took an interest in officiating in 1958 after attending several tournaments at Forest Hills. He became a member of the USTA Umpires Committee and served as chairman in 1973 and 1974. Stahr officiated the No. 1 court at Wimbledon in 1973 and 1977 and served as the chair umpire for the U.S. Open and the Davis Cup Challenge Rounds for three years. In 1976, Stahr became the first administrator of the USTA Umpires Council.
Stahr, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984, has refereed such tournaments as the National Collegiate Athletic Association finals, Family Circle Cup and Murjani Women's Tennis Association Championships.
From 1963-1981, he authored the "Decisions" page in World Tennis magazine, and was honored with the McGovern Award in 1966 for his highly respected "Friend At Court, " which many umpires claim to be the bible of tennis regulations.
MARY EWING OUTERBRIDGE
It is only fitting that Mary Ewing Outerbridge, "the Mother of American Ten-nis," be honored at this evening's inaugural Eastern Tennis Association Hall of Fame gala. As a young socialite from Staten Island, she introduced lawn tennis to the U.S. more than a century ago. Thus, all tennis players, writers, administrators, umpires and fans owe her their gratitude.
On a return voyage from Bermuda in the winter of 1874, Outerbridge brought with her the first set of tennis equipment ever to be introduced to the U.S. While visiting family in Bermuda she took part in the new game of lawn tennis with some officers of the British garrison. Outerbridge took an interest in the game and purchased some balls, racquets and a net from the regimental store. Upon her return, the 22 year old, dressed in a petticoat and long skirt, was halted at customs by an agent who did not know what duty to charge for the tennis equipment.
Famous in shipping circles, her brother, A. Emelius Outerbridge, was able to help get the set through customs. Again with assistance of her brother, active cricketer and director of the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club at Camp Washington (later St. George), Staten Island, she obtained permission to set up the first lawn tennis court in the country. Soon after, courts were built in Newport, Rhode Island, Plainfield, New Jersey, and Tuxedo, New York.
Outerbridge and her sister, Laura, were the first to play lawn tennis in the country on a court which was laid out using white tape. The game soon became popular among the Outerbridge family and circle of friends, and later with other elite groups. Mary's most famous brother, Eugenius H. Outerbridge, the first chairman of the New York Port Authority, who lent his name, to the Outerbridge Crossing between Staten Island and New Jersey, was a driving force in the formation of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association, now known as the United States Tennis Association. It was he who decided to hold the first national lawn tennis tournament in 1880.
Outerbridge, who made her mark in the East, as well as across the U.S., was enshrined into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981, upon the 100th anniversary of the USTA.