In the 1960s, 70s and early 80s, American tennis star Stan Smith captured seven Grand Slam tournament titles in singles and doubles, achieved world No. 1 status, and played an integral role in seven Davis Cup victories for the United States. Since retirement in 1985, Smith has remained active in the sport, coaching young players, playing exhibition matches, and supporting tennis industry organizations, such as the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, of which he was named President in September 2011. In 1987, in recognition of his great achievements and contributions to tennis, Smith was presented the highest honor in the sport-induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In a special ceremony on Saturday night at the SAP Open in San Jose, where Smith is a past champion, this important achievement was celebrated once again with the presentation of his official Hall of Fame ring. The one-of-a-kind rings are being presented to Hall of Famers at tennis events around the world over the next several years to mark their achievement of Hall of Fame induction.
"With his Grand Slam success and remarkable Davis Cup record, Stan Smith is one of the great champions of tennis. He has made a lasting, positive impact on the sport, and we are honored and grateful for Stan's leadership as President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum," said Mark L. Stenning, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. "As a Hall of Famer, Stan is already among an elite group of tennis legends. We are pleased to be able to recognize this achievement with this special ring, which only the most successful and influential individuals in tennis will have the honor of wearing."
Stenning presented the ring to Smith on Center Court at the SAP Open in San Jose, Calif. The tournament, which is one of the longest running and most popular tournaments in pro tennis, counts Smith among its past champions. Smith won the tournament's singles title in 1968 and 1969 captured five doubles crowns there over the years, once partnered with Thomas Koch, once with Roy Emerson and three times with Bob Lutz, with whom Smith formed one of the most successful doubles teams in tennis history. Also participating in the ring ceremony was SAP Open Tournament Director Bill Rapp.
"We were pleased to partner with the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum on this special occasion and we extend our congratulations to Stan," said Rapp. "The SAP Open has a long and rich history in both our local community and the tennis world, and we're so pleased to be able to recognize Stan, who is part of our history and has been such an important part of tennis history overall."
One of the nation's greatest Davis Cup competitors, former world No. 1 Stan Smith was a member of seven championship USA Davis Cup teams, during which time he compiled a 15-4 record in singles and a 20-3 record in doubles. His gutsy performance in the 1972 Davis Cup final versus Romania remains as one of the most heralded matches in history, with Smith defeating rival Ilie Nastase in the opener, overcoming Nastase and his partner Ion Tiriac in doubles, and then clinching the title after an intense five-set singles match versus Tiriac. In Grand Slam play, Smith captured both the US Open and Wimbledon singles titles, and he was a five-time major champion in doubles, all of which he won with Bob Lutz. Over the span of his career, Smith won 61 doubles titles and 39 singles titles for an extraordinary 100 career titles. He was the No.1 ranked singles player at year-end in 1972. Off the tennis courts, Smith is well-known for the iconic "Stan Smith" sneaker by adidas, which he first endorsed in 1972 and remains a popular item for the company today.
Hall of Fame ring ceremonies have already occurred in Houston, Barcelona, Los Angeles, and during the annual Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in Newport, R.I. Additional International Tennis Hall of Fame rings will be presented at tennis events around the world in the coming months, including Buenos Aires, Indian Wells, and Monte-Carlo. Presently, there are 85 Hall of Famers living in 16 different countries, a testament to the global reach of the game.
The personalized rings bear a green stone set in gold, to complement the Hall of Fame's brand colors. In addition, the rings are etched with each honoree's name and the Hall of Fame logo crest. The rings have been generously underwritten by The Bruce T. Halle Family of Scottsdale, Arizona. Bruce, founder of Discount Tire, and his wife Diane, a philanthropist, are tennis enthusiasts and they have generously supported communities in the areas where Discount Tire is located, and beyond, for many years.