London, Dec 22 (IANS) The International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Tuesday announced that greats of the sport — Mary Pierce (France) and Mark Woodforde (Australia) — have been appointed to four-year terms as athlete members of the Board of Directors.
Subject to ratification by the ITF Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June 2016, Pierce and Woodforde will join the other 13 Board members alongside president David Haggerty.
The ITF AGM in Santiago earlier approved this change to the ITF Constitution mandating athlete representation on the Board. The AGM agreed that two former players (one man and woman each) would be appointed to help the ITF have a better understanding of players and their importance to tennis.
“After an intensive process where we talked with many talented athletes, I am pleased to announce that the ITF Board of Directors has appointed Mary Pierce and Mark Woodforde for four-year terms,” ITF president Haggerty said.
“They are the first athlete members of the Board and will provide good insight into the needs of players and help us to grow the game of tennis around the world. Both Mary and Mark will also lead the ITF’s Athlete Commission and will be members of the ITF Olympic Committee.”
Pierce, aged 40, was ranked as high as No.3 in world rankings, won two Grand Slam singles titles at the 1995 Australian Open and 2000 Roland Garros, and reached the final at the 2005 US Open. She represented her country in Fed Cup in 22 ties over 10 years, playing on two winning teams in 1997 and 2003.
“I am very proud and honoured to join the ITF Board. I am convinced that their role in the tennis world is crucial, and I will do my best to bring as much as I can to their action. Thank you so much for welcoming me,” said Pierce.
Woodforde, aged 50, was ranked No.1 in doubles and won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles, 11 with long-term partner Todd Woodbridge and one with John McEnroe. Partnering Woodbridge, he won the gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and a silver at the 2000 Sydney Games.
He represented Australia 24 times over 10 years in Davis Cup, played in three finals and was part of the 1999 winning team. The ‘Woodies’ were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010 and received the Philippe Chatrier Award, the ITF’s highest honour in 2014.
“It’s exciting to be appointed to the ITF Board of Directors. My life continues to be centred around tennis as a commentator and coach. This gives me both insight and perspective on the views of the players that I can share with the Board as we work together to grow tennis around the world,” Woodforde said.