Mike Davies died on 3 November aged 79. A former British No. 1 and Davis Cup player, Davies reached the Wimbledon doubles final in 1960 and went on to enjoy a distinguished career as a tennis marketer and promoter. He is credited with the TV-friendly move of replacing the white tennis ball with optic yellow while Executive Director at World Championship Tennis, and was Marketing Director of the ATP before holding General Manager and Marketing Director positions at the ITF from 1987-1995. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
Patricia Canning Todd
Former American tennis player Patricia Canning Todd died on 5 September aged 93. Canning Todd won four Grand Slam titles soon after World War II, including the singles crown at 1947 Roland Garros. She was a four-time singles semifinalist at Wimbledon but enjoyed most success in doubles, winning the ladies doubles title at Wimbledon in 1947 and both doubles and mixed doubles titles at Roland Garros in 1948. As defending singles champion, she forfeited her 1948 semifinal at Roland Garros after refusing to play on anything other than centre court.
Former Romanian tennis player Florenta Mihai passed away on 14 October aged 60. Mihai became the first Romanian to reach a Grand Slam singles final at 1977 Roland Garros, where she also finished as runner-up in the mixed doubles final the same year.
A former world No. 23, Mihai played 15 ties for her country in Fed Cup, helping Romania reach World Group quarterfinals in 1978, 1980, 1981 and 1983 and compiling a 9-9 overall win-loss record. She went on to captain the team for 14 years, and led Romania at the 1992 Olympics.
Robin Llyr Evans
Robin Llyr Evans died while working as a systems operator for Hawk-Eye at the Wuhan Open in China. He was just 20. Evans had taken a year out from his mechanical engineering degree at Loughborough University to work for Hawkeye around the globe. He had worked closely with the ITF at the Dominican Republic v Germany Davis Cup tie in Santo Domingo just weeks before his tragic death.
Jimmy Evert died on 21 August in Fort Lauderdale, Florida aged 91. A highly regarded tennis coach whose students included his daughter Chris, Evert was the city of Fort Lauderdale’s tennis director for 49 years.
All five of his children reached at least the final of a national junior championship, and Chris Evert went on to become one of history’s greatest female players, winning 18 Grand Slam singles titles. Evert also worked with Jennifer Capriati, who went on to the No. 1 ranking, and other top players including Frank Froehling, Brian Gottfried and Harold Solomon.
An all-American tennis player at Notre Dame in the 1940s, Evert reached No. 11 in the United States rankings. The tennis center where he taught was named the Jimmy Evert Tennis Center in 1997. He is survived by his wife, Colette; his daughters Chris, Jeanne Dubin and Clare Evert-Shane; his sons, Drew and John; his brother, Jerry; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Howard Brody, one of the world’s foremost tennis scientists, who pioneered much of the modern understanding of tennis equipment and its effects on how the game is played, died on 11 August aged 83 in his home town of Philadelphia.
Brody was an emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, where he spent his entire academic career, having begun his professional life as a particle physicist (including working at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland) before a chance encounter in the 1970s led him to change focus to tennis.
An ardent amateur player, he also coached the university tennis team, but is best known for his academic contribution to the sport. He authored two of the most important books on tennis science, “Tennis Science for Tennis Players” (1987) and, with Rod Cross and Crawford Lindsey, “The Physics and Technology of Tennis” (2002), as well as scores of scientific articles.
Brody was a leading contributor at the series of ITF Tennis Science & Technology congresses, at which the most outstanding research paper was presented with an award named after him. Among his many tennis-related responsibilities, Professor Brody was a member of the ITF Technical Commission from 1997-2009, as well as the USTA Technical Committee and sat on the technical advisory panel of Tennis Magazine.
In a tribute to Brody, ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "Howard Brody was a scientist and a pioneer. Curious about the technical side of tennis, he launched research into tennis equipment that, among other things, led the ITF to consider the creation of the ITF Technical Centre at our base in Roehampton.
"I knew Howard as a member of the ITF Technical Committee for over a decade and admired his curiosity and enthusiasm for the technical aspects of tennis. He will be greatly missed."
Doris Hart, an extraordinary American tennis champion who won 35 major tournament titles in the 1940s and 1950s, passed away at home in Coral Gables, Florida on May 29. She was 89 years old. In recognition of her outstanding tennis accomplishments, Hart was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969.
Hart was the first player in the history of the sport to have won a career boxed set, meaning she won every title possible over the course of her career - singles, doubles, and mixed doubles at all four major tournaments. To this day, Margaret Court Smith and Martina Navratilova are the only other players to have achieved this feat.
Her 35 major titles were comprised of six in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 15 in mixed doubles. She is ranked fifth in the sport's history for most major titles. Hart was an integral part of the United States Wightman Cup Team from 1946 to 1955. She compiled a 14-0 record in singles and an 8-1 record in doubles.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Hart grew up in Coral Gables, Florida. She had a successful junior tennis career and she played for the University of Miami from 1947-1949.
After retiring from her competitive playing career, she spent time as a teaching professional and she was the author of the book, Tennis with Hart, published in 1955.
Former Hungarian Top 10 tennis player Daniel Hennel passed away aged just 31 in April. Hennel reached a career-high ranking of No. 807 in juniors in 2002, before opting to pursue a career in law.
Thelma Coyne Long
Australian tennis legend Thelma Coyne Long passed away on 13 April aged 96.
Coyne Long won a total of 19 Grand Slam titles across singles, doubles and mixed doubles - 18 of which came at the Australian Championships - in a career that spanned more than two decades from 1936 to 1958.
Coyne Long remains the oldest Australian women’s singles champion, having won the 1954 event aged 35 years and eight months, and the oldest women’s doubles champion, claiming the 1956 title aged 37 years 7 months. She also remains the only player (man or woman) to have won 12 Australian doubles titles).
In total, she won two singles titles, 12 doubles titles and four mixed titles at the Australian Grand Slam with her only major triumph away from Australia coming in mixed doubles at Roland Garros in 1956.
Coyne Long's tennis career was interrupted by army service - she served her country with the Red Cross and the Australian Women’s Army Corps, rising to the rank of Captain. In recognition of her efforts throughout World War II, she was awarded both the Australian War Medal and Australian Service Medal for 1939-1945.
A trailblazer for women’s tennis, Coyne Long was a driving force for the ITF to establish the Federation Cup in 1963 to match the Davis Cup in 1963. Upon her retirement from tennis Coyne Long mentored many junior players in her home state of New South Wales.
Patrice Dominguez passed away while surrounded by his family at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris on 12 April. He was 65.
Domniguez held many important roles in tennis during a career in the sport that spanned over 40 years. As a player, he was a seven-time Tour-level titlist in doubles and also reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon in singles.
He put together a 15-9 record in Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, and went on to captain France in the international team competition before enjoying coaching roles with renowned French players Henri Leconte and Fabrice Santoro. Dominguez was also a tournament director at Tour events in France, including Monte Carlo, Tolouse, Metz and Montpellier, and was an accomplished broadcaster, contributing to both television and radio.
“Everyone at the ITF was saddened to learn of the death of Patrice Dominguez,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “Patrice played many important roles in tennis – player, administrator, coach, tournament director, commentator, author – and he did them all very well. He represented France in Davis Cup for five years in the 1970s and was captain for one year in 1990. We send our sincere condolences to his wife, Cendrine, his children and to all of his many friends in tennis.”
Gary Au Yeung
Gary Au Yeung passed away on 7 March. Au Yeung was a highly regarded and accomplished international tennis referee and Hong Kong’s only ITF Gold Badge Referee, which he obtained in 2013.
Au Yeung first became a tennis official in 1973 and has been involved in tennis both in Hong Kong and internationally ever since. He was the tournament referee at the inaugural Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open and was still actively refereeing women’s circuit events as recently as January.
Peter Wallenberg passed away on 26 January at the age of 88.
“Pirre”, as he was known throughout Swedish tennis, was Honorary Chairman of the Swedish Tennis Federation, a member of the Committee Management and Finance Committee of the ITF, and served on the ITF Board from 1977-79.
Wallenberg was elected to the Board of the Swedish Tennisförbundets in 1971, became vice President in 1973, and was Chairman between 1977 and 1983. When he left the presidency he was elected Honorary Chairman.
ATP Media CEO Steve Plasto passed away after a battle with cancer on 25 January, just two months after his diagnosis of metastatic melanoma.
Plasto was seen as a savvy and likable operator who was shepherding the for-profit arm of the ATP toward greater heights.
Former American tennis player Whitney Reed passed away on January 9 aged 82.
Reed served in the Air Force during the Korean War, before going on to hold the American No. 1 ranking in 1961. Reed’s highlights include winning the Canadian National Championships and the Cincinnati Masters (today known as the Western & Southern Open). He was selected for the US Davis Cup team in 1958, 1961 and 1962.
While he was never inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, he enjoyed wins over Hall of Famers Rod Laver, Neale Fraser and Alex Olmedo.
Jean Claude Gasigwa
Jean Claude Gasigwa passed away on 8 January during a training session. He was just 31 years of age.
One of the best tennis players in Rwanda, Jean Claude holds two Davis Cup records for his nation having played the most ties (32) and the most years (8).