Tennis News Wire -
The ITF launched the Davis Cup Commitment Award at the 100th Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Czech Republic and Spain at the O2 Arena in Prague.
This new award has been conceived as part of the ITF’s 2013 Centenary celebrations, and will be presented by the ITF to Davis Cup players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country in this prestigious competition. Each award recipient will have competed in a minimum of 20-home-and-away ties or 50 ties at any level of the competition (including zone group events) over their career.
The ITF presented the first seven trophies to players in an on-court presentation before today’s Davis Cup Final doubles rubber. The recipients included Italy’s Nicola Pietrangeli, who holds the overall record of 66 home-and-away ties; and Domenico Vicini of San Marino, who is the record holder for number of ties at all levels with 87.
Manolo Santana, who played a record 46 ties for Spain, received a trophy alongside compatriots Juan Gisbert and Feliciano Lopez; while two members of Czechoslovakia’s 1980 Davis Cup winning team, Jan Kodes and Tomas Smid, were also recognized.
Tomas Berdych, who competed for Czech Republic in the Final, received his award at the Davis Cup Final Dinner on Sunday.
Manolo Santana said: “I am extremely honored to receive this award. I always thought that Davis Cup was the biggest competition, and it is great for tennis that it still has an event like this.”
Domenico Vicini, who is still playing Davis Cup for San Marino at the age of 41, said: “I never thought I would achieve such a goal when I started. It was a gift for me to play Davis Cup, which for a player represents the maximum amount of sporting pride.”
A total of 299 players have already qualified to receive the award, of whom 252 are still alive. The ITF through its National Associations will make presentations to award winners at Davis Cup home ties throughout 2013 as part of the ITF Centenary celebrations.
The Commitment Award trophies are based on the design of the current Davis Cup trophy. All recipients will also be recognized on an honors board at the ITF headquarters in London and in a dedicated section on the official Davis Cup website.