Sweden’s Mats Wilander has been honoured with the 2012 IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award, which was presented to him during the Wimbledon fortnight by outgoing IC Chairman Barry Weatherill.
This award is made periodically to a player who has shown throughout his or her playing career the outstanding standard of sportsmanship commensurate with the ideals of the International Clubs.
The relevant objective of the ICs is to “develop, encourage and maintain the highest standards of sportsmanship and understanding among players of all nations and among young players in particular.”
Past winners of the Jean Borotra Award include Stefan Edberg, Chris Evert, Todd Martin, Maria Bueno, Pat Rafter, Kim Clijsters and Gustavo Kuerten. The Award was inaugurated in 1998.
The selection process involves a panel of international tennis journalists who select a group of players who would meet these criteria. This list is then endorsed or added to by the 38 International Clubs around the world.
Wilander has always been a gentleman on court, known not for boisterous outbursts or tantrums, but rather for being a fierce competitor and steady player that earned him the utmost respect from his peers.
The Swede was a world No. 1, winner of seven Grand Slams and valued contributor to three Davis Cup victories for his country. He is also a Hall of Fame inductee. Throughout his career, his affection for tennis was never more apparent than at his speech after his induction into the Hall of Fame when he simply noted: “I love the game of tennis.”
Wilander was a tenacious competitor who was involved in many epic matches, including a marathon five-setter against John McEnroe in the deciding fifth rubber of a Davis Cup tie between USA and Sweden at the St. Louis Checkerdome in 1982. The encounter prompted the American to describe Wilander as the “toughest player” he had ever played.
Having already played a five-set match on the first day of the tie, Wilander battled back from two sets down against McEnroe before eventually going down 79 26 1715 63 68. The two players were on court for 6 hours 22 minutes, which remains the longest known Davis Cup rubber to date.
During a Davis Cup career that spanned 15 years, Wilander played 27 ties and compiled a 43-18 win-loss record, picking up three titles along the way. He then went on to captain the Swedish team for seven seasons, starting in 2003.
In 1988, Wilander ended the year as world No. 1 after winning three Grand Slam titles and reaching quarterfinals at Wimbledon. In the three major finals, he defeated Pat Cash at the Australian Open, Henri Leconte at Roland Garros and Ivan Lendl at the US Open.
Wilander won the first of his three Roland Garros titles in 1982 at the tender age of 17. His final Grand Slam crown came in that memorable 1988 season. He ended his professional career with an overall singles record of 572-224.
Click the link below to watch the presentation of the Award on Live@Wimbledon:
> Wilander receives Jean Borotra Award
Weatherill retires as IC Chairman
The recent AGM of the Council of International Clubs (IC), held in London on 1 July, was chaired for the last time by Barry Weatherill.
After 22 years as Chairman and 10 years as Secretary before that, Weatherill has stepped down and handed over to Peter McQuibban.
Marco Gilardelli of Italy, himself a retiring member of the Executive Committee, gave a speech and together with Gustavo Herrero of Argentina, handed over a crystal carafe with inscription to thank Barry for all he had done during his long association with the IC Council (pictured right).
“Barry has pioneered many great things throughout his leadership, among them being the introduction of Executive Committee meetings and the formation of sub-committees," said Gilardelli. "This has encouraged all members to be involved at all different levels, thus ensuring a vibrant and ongoing operation around the world.
"Above all, with his usual wisdom and professionalism, when he thought the day had come to leave the guidance of the club to younger members, he took his time to find the right person and to handover his duties of an organisation in excellent condition.”
The new Chairman, Peter McQuibban, who lives in Washington, has been a long standing member of the Executive Committee and has also been Chairman of the IC of Great Britain. There are now 40 International Clubs in all continents of the world.