London – GBR, Nov 17: The ITF today launched the Davis Cup Commitment Award at the 100th Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final between Czech Republic and Spain at the O2 Arena in Prague.
This new award has been conceived as part of the ITF’s 2013 Centenary celebrations, and will be presented by the ITF to Davis Cup players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country in this prestigious competition. Each award recipient will have competed in a minimum of 20-home-and-away ties or 50 ties at any level of the competition (including zone group events) over their career.
The ITF presented the first seven trophies to players in an on-court presentation before today’s Davis Cup Final doubles rubber. The recipients included Italy’s Nicola Pietrangeli, who holds the overall record of 66 home-and-away ties; and Domenico Vicini of San Marino, who is the record holder for number of ties at all levels with 87.
Manolo Santana, who played a record 46 ties for Spain, received a trophy alongside compatriots Juan Gisbert and Feliciano Lopez; while two members of Czechoslovakia’s 1980 Davis Cup winning team, Jan Kodes and Tomas Smid, were also recognised.
Tomas Berdych, who is competing for Czech Republic in the Final, will receive his award at the Davis Cup Final Dinner on Sunday 18 November.
Manolo Santana said: “I am extremely honoured to receive this award. I always thought that Davis Cup was the biggest competition, and it is great for tennis that it still has an event like this.”
Domenico Vicini, who is still playing Davis Cup for San Marino at the age of 41, said: “I never thought I would achieve such a goal when I started. It was a gift for me to play Davis Cup, which for a player represents the maximum amount of sporting pride.”
A total of 299 players have already qualified to receive the award, of whom 252 are still alive. The ITF through its National Associations will make presentations to award winners at Davis Cup home ties throughout 2013 as part of the ITF Centenary celebrations.
The Commitment Award trophies are based on the design of the current Davis Cup trophy. All recipients will also be recognised on an honours board at the ITF headquarters in London and in a dedicated section on the official Davis Cup website.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “The launch of the Davis Cup Commitment Award reflects the dedication by players for more than a century to represent their country in this prestigious competition. These players have continued to rise to the unique challenge of competing in a team environment in front of their home fans, and we believe that it is fitting to recognise their efforts in our centenary year.” —- ITF