The ITF World Champions Dinner is an annual event that takes place in Paris during the Roland Garros fortnight. In 2016, it will be held on 31 May.
The celebration brings together over 400 members of the tennis family to honour the ITF World Champions, who are recognised for their outstanding performance from the previous year.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic and USA's Serena Williams scooped the top men's and women's singles awards after their performances during the 2015 season, while the best doubles teams, juniors and wheelchair players were also commended.
Philippe Chatrier Award
The Philippe Chatrier Award is named after the late former French player, who dedicated his life to tennis. After his playing career ended, he went on to become a journalist and then the President of both the International Tennis Federation and French Tennis Federation. He also served as France's Davis Cup captain.
The Philippe Chatrier Award is presented to someone who has given long and outstanding service to the game. Stefan Edberg was the first person to be honoured in 1996 and there have now been a total of 20 recipients. That list includes technology giants NEC in 2001, the year that marked the company's 20-year sponsorship of Davis Cup.
In 2016, Brad Parks, the founder of wheelchair tennis, will receive the award.
Parks’ story is of how one man used a cruel twist of fate to create something that has changed the lives of thousands of people. In 1976, while competing in a freestyle skiing competition in Utah, USA, at the age of 18, he landed badly after a jump and was paralysed from the waist down. Having played tennis before his accident, he began wondering during his long rehabilitation whether the sport could be played in a wheelchair.
In hospital, Parks met wheelchair athlete and recreational therapist Jeff Minnebraker, and they began working on ideas and rules for a new sport. Minnebraker started building lightweight sports wheelchairs, and soon the pair were touring the United States to promote wheelchair tennis.
Parks led exhibitions and clinics to teach the sport to disabled adults and children throughout the 1980s. The National Foundation of Wheelchair Tennis (NFWT) was born in 1980 and a ten-circuit tournament was started that culminated with the US Open wheelchair tennis championships, held in Parks’ native California.
In 1988, Parks became the inaugural president of the new International Wheelchair Tennis Federation (IWTF) while continuing to compete on the circuit. He was the No. 1-ranked player from 1980 to 1989. Wheelchair tennis quickly became one of the world’s fastest growing wheelchair sports, earning entry into the Paralympic Games in 1992, where Parks and his great rival, the late Randy Snow, won doubles gold for USA.
The sport became fully integrated into the ITF in 1998, making wheelchair tennis the first disability sport to achieve such a union at international level. The Wheelchair Tennis Tour originated in 1992 with 11 international tournaments, and it has grown to its current total of over 150 tournaments in more than 40 countries, offering over $2 million in prize money.
Parks was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010, while the Brad Parks Award is presented annually by the ITF to an individual or organisation that has made a significant contribution to wheelchair tennis.
Brad Parks will receive the Philippe Chatrier Award at the ITF World Champions Dinner in Paris on 31 May 2016.
- 2016: Brad Parks (USA)
- 2015: Mary Carillo (USA)
- 2014: Todd Woodbridge (AUS) and Mark Woodforde (AUS)
- 2013: All England Lawn Tennis Club
- 2012: Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (ESP)
- 2011: Guy Forget (FRA)
- 2010: Gustavo Kuerten (BRA)
- 2009: Martina Navratilova (USA)
- 2008: Neale Fraser (AUS)
- 2007: John McEnroe (USA)
- 2006: Margaret Court (AUS)
- 2005: Tony Trabert (USA)
- 2004: Yannick Noah (FRA)
- 2003: Billie Jean King (USA)
- 2002: Jack Kramer (USA)
- 2001: NEC
- 2000: Juan Antonio Samaranch (ESP)
- 1999: Nicola Pietrangeli (ITA)
- 1998: Rod Laver (AUS)
- 1997: Chris Evert (USA)
- 1996: Stefan Edberg (SWE)