CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 2013 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Cliff Drysdale has been an industry pioneer for decades. From his days as a top player, including winning the U.S. Open doubles championship, to his many leadership roles across tennis governing bodies, Drysdale’s name and voice are synonymous with tennis. ESPN’s first tennis commentator, Drysdale has been commentating grand slam events since 1979.
Drysdale has devoted over four decades of his life to promoting the advancement of the tennis culture. His contributions to the game span across an award-winning career as a professional player, leadership roles in advancing Open Tennis, the founding and presidency of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), a 30 year+ tenure as a television tennis analyst, and the ownership of his tennis management company, Cliff Drysdale Tennis.
Drysdale was also a member of the esteemed “Handsome Eight” signed by Lamar Hunt in 1967, and his presence on the WCT circuit in the seventies was vital to the evolution of the game. Drysdale played 45 Davis Cup matches for his former homeland, South Africa, over a six-year period (he went on to become an American citizen). In 1972, Drysdale teamed with Roger Taylor to win the U.S. Open doubles crown. They defeated the formidable team of Legends Owen Davidson and John Newcombe in three sets. Drysdale was ranked, several times, in the world’s top ten in singles, and he earned his way to being number on in the world on the senior tour in 1989.
The highlight of Drysdale’s singles career was a finals showing in the 1965 U.S. Championships. Throughout his celebrated career, he netted 35 singles and 24 doubles titles.
Cliff Drysdale went from making the shots – to calling them. Drysdale has been one of the games preeminent television commentators since the late seventies, and has been known as the “the voice” of ESPN since the inception of the network in 1979. Noted for his low-key, but elegant manner – of Drysdale, tennis legend Rod Laver once said “(he) could talk a lion into becoming a vegetarian” – along with knowledge and objectivity, the affable and unflappable Drysdale, along with his instantly recognizable voice, has graced virtually every ESPN tennis telecast.
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