Articulate André, Indomitable Peachy Join Tennis Hall of Fame Pantheon

Whoever saw the brash young tennis kid with the mullet play decades ago would have trouble matching that person with the man who stood before us at the International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in Newport, thoughtful, thankful, articulate, and well, yes, loving.

 

And he can still play a mean game of tennis, too, as he demonstrated
at an exhibition match with Todd Martin, Owen Davidson and Brad Gilbert, and the Center Court at the Tennis Hall of Fame, which was packed for the match. The career rivalry between Mr. Agassi and John McEnroe has been documented in a new film "Fire and Ice."

 

Peachy Kellmeyer, the very first employee of the WTA, (Women's Tennis Association), has been instrumental in the development of women's competitive tennis, its estimation, recognition, and, not least, prize money. Working steadily and tirelessy with Billie Jean King, Ms. Kellmeyer is the wizard behind the curtain, and is iconic in the annals of women's tennis.

 

ITHF Trustees after a meeting

Clearly a crowd favorite, Andre Agassi, who captured eight grand slam tournament titles, and an Olympic gold medal, is now married to Hall of Famer Steffi Graf, and with two young children, opened a Charter School in Las Vegas for children in at risk areas, the Andre Agassi Preparatory Academy. One of his graduating students, Simone  delivered the introductory speech, citing his dedication, his inspiration, and his energy. The Andre Agassi Academy now has a 100% graduation rate, and Simone is going on to medical school.

 

Oh, and she forgave him the early mullet.

 

In his own acceptance speech, Agassi talked about how he had been encouraged by his father Mike to become a tennis star, but at 29 found it hollow. He them rediscovered, and came to love, tennis: "It's given me my life, and my wife," he said, movingly, nodding toward Ms. Graf, their children, and his parents. He recounted his journey of self-discovery and self realization.

 

Emblematic of the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tournament

Christopher Clouser,  chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, gave the presentation encomium, and the crowd clapped.  Ms. Kellmeyer, modest and charming, stated how honored she was to be given tennis' highest accolade.

 

Bud Collins was there, too.  The earlier press conference gave the media the opportunity to ask some direct questions, which included President and CEO of the WTA  Stacey Allaster, who took the opportunity to practice her Induction Ceremony speech using her iPad.  There was a tribute to retiring sports reporter for The Newport Daily News Rick McGowan.

 

At the ceremony, the crowd roared.

 

                                                                       -- L.P.

 

For links to videos and photographs of the 2011 Induction ceremony, go to

www.tennisfame.com

 

 

Stacey Allaster, CEO of the WTA, working on her speech

Members of the media at the ITHF Casino Theater press conference

Mr. Agassi, Mr. Clouser & Ms. Kellmeyer

Peachy Kellmeyer answers a question

The Horseshoe Court at the Tennis Hall of Fame

Mr. Clouser listens as Ms. Kellmeyer answers a question

Christopher Clouser, who traveled to Ms. Kellemeyers' home town to

present news of the award to her

Mr. Agassi, Mr. Clouser & Ms. Kellmeyer

Rick McGowan, sports editor of Newport Daily News

The press conference was a media frenzy

Part of Peachy's exhibit at the ITHF

Arthur Ashe exhibition at the Tennis Hall of Fame

You've come a long way, baby: early wome's tennis garb

Exhibition of Andre Agassi's phenomenal career

 A quote from Mr. Agassi

With one of his students from the Las Vegas Preparatoy Academy

Vignettes from Mr. Agassi's career

Video allows visitors to see past matches

An original room in the Hall of Fame

Vintage tennis videos

Peachy Kellmeyer, Hall of Famer

History of the WTA

The impressive Arthur Ashe exhibit

Sponsor Chubb Insurance held a luncheon

The Campbell Soup Kids at ITHF

Brad Gilbert, who played in the exhibition match

Lidy Gaj & Rick McGowan before the ceremony

Center Court, ready for the induction ceremony

The ceremony's beginning

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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