The Induction of Andre Agassi and Peachy Kellmeyer into the International Tennis Hall of Fame
ANDRE AGASSIEarlier in the week of the Class of 2011 Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, journalists who have been covering the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships and the Hall of Fame inductions for many years concurred that the best speech they had witnessed was Andre Agassi's introduction of wife Stefanie Graf during her induction in 2004. "Not a dry eye in the place," someone remarked.
On Saturday, July 9, one could see sunglasses covering up teary eyes on many in the media section as Agassi showed he's no two-time wonder (his speech at retirement during the 2006 US Open was also one of the most memorable in tennis). In his moving and eloquent speech, the honoree talked of his father's dreams, his heroes Arthur Ashe, Billie Jean King, and Nelson Mandela, and his gratitude to the sport for giving him the opportunity to become who he is today.
He credited his serve for his win, noting the week in Newport had been the best service week of his career, but John Isner, the 2011 Campbell's Hall of Fame Champion, believes that he has other weapons as well. He believes he has improved his all-court game but has not been "putting things together" during matches. Isner had not won back-to-back matches since the Sony Ericsson Open in March before coming to Newport. He had also lost three straight ATP Finals in 2010, in close matches against friends Sam Querrey (twice) and Mardy Fish. Thus, nerves crept in during the second set of Sunday's Final, as he failed to convert all five break point opportunities he had. But Isner was able to overcome them, winning in a tiebreak, 6-3, 7-6(6).
Isner's opponent in the Final, Olivier Rochus, agreed that the American, "has much more than the serve," praising Isner's touch at net, slice, and movement "for a guy his size."
The main attraction on Saturday was, quite obviously, the induction of the Class of 2011 Hall of Famers Peachy Kellmeyer and Andre Agassi into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Excited crowds gathered to watch the sold-out ceremony. While honoree in the Contributor category Kellmeyer is more than worthy of her place in the Hall, having been integral to the development of women's tennis, the fans came out for Agassi. As Agassi noted in his speech, tennis has certainly "loved him back," and judging by the fans' applause, will continue to do so.
Do It, Do It, Do It Again
The Induction Ceremony began twice today, as Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, was over a minute into his opening speech when he was forced to halt and repeat the introduction. The culprit? While the ceremony started on schedule at 12:30, Tennis Channel, which broadcast the induction, was not quite as prompt.