The ITF today announced that legendary Australian doubles pair Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde will receive the ITF’s highest accolade, the Philippe Chatrier Award, at the 2014 ITF World Champions Dinner on Tuesday 3 June in Paris at the Pavillon d’Armenonville.
The Philippe Chatrier Award, named after the former ITF President, was introduced in 1996 and is awarded each year for outstanding contributions to the game of tennis. Woodbridge and Woodforde become the first ever doubles team to receive the award, joining fellow Australian honorees Rod Laver, Margaret Court and Neale Fraser. Billie Jean King, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and 2013 Award winner the All England Club are among the other former recipients.
Woodbridge and Woodforde, known as the ‘Woodies’, enjoyed outstanding results together between 1990 and 2000, winning 11 Grand Slam men’s doubles titles and a total of 61 tournaments. Their greatest success came at Wimbledon, where they are the only men’s partnership in the Open era to win five straight titles (1993-97), and hold the Open era record of six championships.
The Woodies won the Olympic gold medal at Atlanta 1996, and four years later took silver in Sydney. In Davis Cup, they compiled a 14-2 record together, scoring the vital doubles point that helped Australia defeat France for the title in 1999. The pair completed their set of Grand Slam titles when they won the elusive Roland Garros crown in 2000, shortly before adding their sixth Wimbledon title. By Woodforde’s retirement after the 2000 Olympics they had a 508-137 career record.
The Woodies’ dedication on court has been followed by dedication in their varied roles as coaches, commentators, administrators and mentors. They will be honoured both for their achievements and their commitment to the sport they love.
ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: “Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde were unbeatable in their prime, in a nine-year span winning 11 Grand Slam titles, Olympic gold and silver medals, and helping Australia to Davis Cup glory. They continue their commitments to tennis in a variety of capacities and are being honoured for their outstanding – and ongoing – contributions to the game.”
Mark Woodforde said: “It is such an honour to receive the Philippe Chatrier Award, named after a true pioneer of world tennis. I’m moved so deeply that Todd and I will be joining such grand champions and following in the footsteps of the other Aussies to receive this accolade. To be the first doubles team honoured not only highlights the success of the Woodies on court but also recognises our continual involvement with this cherished sport via our international media duties as well as our coaching and player development roles back home in Australia.”
Todd Woodbridge added: “This is such an honour and totally unexpected. I still get enormous joy out of tennis and being able to give back from my experiences is a pleasure in both coaching and broadcasting.”