NEWPORT, R.I. -- The International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., inducted its Class of 2014 on Saturday, July 12. The honorees included, in the recent player catgory, Lindsay Davenport and Chantal Vandierendonck; and in the contributor category, John Barrett, Nick Bolletieri, and Wellesley alumna Jane Brown Grimes '62.
The honor of enshrinement in the International Tennis Hall of Fame has been presented to just 235 people since its foundation. A nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history of tennis and honoring its greatest champions and leaders, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
Davenport was a six-time Grand Slam tournament champion and held the world No. 1 ranking for 98 weeks. Vandierendonck of the Netherlands was the first and three-time ITF World Champion and won five Paralympic medals and seven singles titles at the U.S. Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. Barrett of Great Britain has served tennis as broadcaster, tournament director, and one of the sport's premier historians and authors. Bolletieri has a uniquely successful record of discovering and developing tennis champions; he coached 10 world No. 1 players.
Brown Grimes, a history major at Wellesley and former journalist, fits right into this august company. According to Tennis.com: "To put it succinctly, Brown Grimes has been everywhere that is anywhere in the pro game, and she's among a handful of people who helped enormously in the transition to the Open tennis we have today. She's had leadership roles at the USTA, The WTA, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame. From January 2007 until December of 2008, Brown Grimes was Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA. During her tenure, the USA won the Davis Cup and helped push USTA membership over the 700,000 mark, and she helped launch the USTA QuickStart tennis program for children."
As her USTA bio recounts: After an early career as a reporter and researcher for Life Magazine, Brown Grimes has spent the last several decades involved with the sport of tennis. She opened the New York office of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1977 and became the Hall of Fame's Executive Director in 1981, serving as the Tournament Director for both ATP and WTA Tour events during that time. Brown Grimes served with the International Tennis Hall of Fame until 1986, when she became the Managing Director of the Women's Tennis Council and presided over an unprecedented period of growth in women's professional tennis. Brown Grimes returned to the Hall of Fame as the organization's president and CEO in 1991 and served until 2000, during which time she oversaw a major reconstruction of the historic buildings and grounds of the Hall of Fame's headquarters in Newport, R.I. She currently serves the Hall of Fame as president emerita.
"It's a pretty unique résumé when you've led three different organizations in this sport," former player Pam Shriver told writer Nick McCarvel in a WTA.com article called "The Amazing Jane Brown Grimes. She added, "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."
At the induction ceremony, Hall of Fame President Stan Smith said, "Jane Brown Grimes' selfless dedication to our sport has resulted in incredible growth on all levels, from U.S. tennis to international competitions to the development of women's pro tennis, and so much more."
"She has served tennis on every level," legend Chris Evert concurred in her introduction of Brown Grimes, and said, "Her skilled diplomacy was key to the survival of the WTA.""She broke down barriers that women faced in the workplace and pushed past gender roles, and she did it with grace."
Brown Grimes is now pursuing a master's degree in international relations at Cambridge University and writing her thesis on the role that tennis can play in global relations. Of this recent honor, she said, ""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."
Other Media Coverage
ESPN: "I hope there's another Lindsay Davenport for all she did for Americans and for women's tennis," Brown Grimes said.
Providence Journal: "Over the last few decades, I have watched her work her magic with intelligence, savvy, and integrity," Evert said of Brown Grimes.
10sBalls.com: "There are so many examples in this sport making room for tolerance and understanding in a world often torn by bitter conflict," said Brown Grimes.