Saturday, July 10, 2010
Australia's 'Woodies' enshrined in Hall
NEWPORT, R.I. -- On an induction day that will be remembered for doubles players and a contrast of weather, a one-word nickname summed up the class -- "Woodies."
Australia's Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde headed a class of seven inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Woodbridge and Woodforde -- known as the "Woodies" -- were enshrined along with doubles partners Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva.
"This is an amazing day for the Woodies," Woodforde said. "I don't know if any of us said we're just going to be doubles players. We just excelled on the doubles court a little more than we did on the singles. As much as we would have loved to win more in the singles titles, we did in doubles."
The pair combined for 11 major titles and 61 world tour championships from 1991 to 2000. They held the record for most doubles titles until it was matched by Americans Bob and Mike Bryan earlier this year.
"I think we won our fourth tournament we played together," Woodbridge said. "It was close on average to every fourth tournament we won the next 10 years. That's pretty good business."
In keeping with the doubles theme, the weather offered a "double dose" for fans watching the 65-minute ceremony on Newport's grass courts. It started in a heavy rain that gave way to sunshine after about 15 minutes.
"I figured if I could team up with Mark we'd do well together. We did better than well, we did bloody great," Woodbridge told the crowd during the on-court ceremony after family members and guests were able to put away their umbrellas.
Fernandez and Zvereva captured 14 Grand Slam tournament titles together. They were introduced by 2002 Hall of Famer Pam Shriver.
"She was fire and I was ice," Zvereva told the crowd.
Fernandez is the first Puerto Rican-born player to be inducted into the Hall.
Brad Parks, the pioneer of wheelchair tennis, was the Hall's first wheelchair inductee. Owen Davidson also was enshrined in the Master player category along with Derek Hardwick, who was enshrined posthumously.
"I can't believe actually that I'm here," Parks said during a morning news conference. "This is kind of the last straw. A guy in a wheelchair is being inducted into the Hall of Fame."