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International Tennis Hall of Fame

In the early 1950's I followed the exploits of Tony Trabert, one of the two best American tennis players, Vic Seixas being the other. Last Christmas I got the opportunity to talk with Tony at a tree lighting ceremony and gathering at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI. Tony is the President of the Hall and a member.

In July I got the opportunity to attend the annual Induction ceremonies for the new members of the Hall of Fame. For an old tennis player and fan of tennis, it was inspiring to see and hear the likes of Tony, Billy Jean King and Boris Becker.

I was asked to serve as Chairman for the first annual Hall of Fame Corporate Tennis Challenge, a one-day charity event to benefit the mission of the Hall of Fame. The August 13, 2003 event was a huge success for the 72 men and women participants. As the warm and sunny day unfolded, the joy of friendly competition on the hallowed grass courts was evident everywhere. The event raised about $15,000 for the Hall of Fame, while I was learning valuable lessons about leadership.

Not many years back I found a photo of the doubles finalists in the 1956 Canadian Nationals tournament in Ottawa, Canada. The photo featured Rod Laver, Gerry Dubie, Joe Epkins and myself. Joe and I did not beat Rod and Gerry, but we have a priceless memory of playing against Rod, who many consider the best all-time tennis player.

I offered the photo as an auction item for the Corporate Tennis Challenge. We sent it to Rod who was generous enough to autograph it. When that was done it was suggested that the photo would more properly rest in the Hall of Fame's collection of Rod's mementos. I can't wait for my grandchildren to be old enough to be impressed that their grandpa lost to Rod Laver.

© 2003 Wayne Peacock, All rights reserved.
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