Melbourne, 18 November 2010 | tennis.com.au
In recognition of his commitment to wheelchair tennis, former champion David Hall has been appointed as one of six ITF Wheelchair Tennis Ambassadors to help promote the sport in Australia and worldwide.
Arguably the sport’s most decorated men’s player, Hall will join a select group of former wheelchair tennis players and notable personalities within tennis who have shown a strong interest in building the profile of wheelchair tennis.
The panel of ambassadors will also include the founder of wheelchair tennis Brad Parks (USA), former Davis Cup winner Tommy Robredo (ESP), wheelchair tennis supporter and former world No.4 Jonas Bjorkman (SWE), professional tennis coach Sven Groeneveld (NED) and Monique Kalkman (NED), the only female athlete to win Paralympic gold medals in two different individual sports – table tennis and wheelchair tennis.
Hall will join his fellow ambassadors in promoting wheelchair tennis at major events and all four Grand Slam tournaments around the world, including the upcoming 2011 Australian Open in January.
The former world No.1 and Paralympic gold medallist was honoured to become a member of the ITF’s elite panel of ambassadors for the sport, which has a rapidly growing international fan base.
“For 15 years wheelchair tennis gave me so many fantastic memories, opportunities and made so many of my dreams come true,” Hall said.
“When the ITF asked me to be an ambassador for this incredible sport it was my honour to accept, and I’ll do my very best to promote it in any way that I can.”
Hall’s professional accomplishments included winning eight Australian Opens, seven British Opens, eight US Opens and over 70 other tournaments (including 19 at Super Series level), and being named ITF World Champion on six occasions.
After retiring in 2006, Hall maintained close links with the sport and has continued to build grassroots interest by working with young wheelchair tennis players in Australia.
Tennis Australia National Academy Manager Geoff Quinlan said Hall was a deserved recipient of the position after being recently inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
“David is arguably one of the greatest wheelchair tennis players of all time and is an inspiration to young athletes in Australia, not just in the sport of wheelchair tennis.
“David’s appointment as an ITF ambassador is a testament to his achievements and dedication as a professional athlete, and we hope he can help take wheelchair tennis to the next level in Australia and abroad.”
Since wheelchair tennis became fully integrated into the ITF in 1997, it has become one of the fastest growing paralympic sports and is currently played in more than 100 countries. The NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour (organised by the ITF) consists of 160 tournaments in more than 40 countries, and offers more than USD$1 million in prize money.