Helping American former collegiate tennis players succeed on the pro tour.
The Oracle US Tennis Awards are two $100,000 grants awarded each year at the BNP Paribas Open to a male and female professional who have demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and an aptitude for success on the pro tour. Recipients must have played collegiate tennis prior to turning pro. These awards are given to assist young American players as they transition from college to the professional ranks.
"Making the transition from college to the professional ranks is a real challenge," said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd. "We hope these awards will provide young players with support to develop their game and improve their mental and physical fitness. Our goal is to grow the program and we invite input and support from other companies who are committed to US athletics." The awards will be administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the governing body of college tennis.
Recipients will be selected by the Oracle US Tennis Awards Advisory Council, a six-member body that includes individuals committed to the growth and improvement of American tennis.
Jamie Loeb is an American tennis player from Ossining, New York. She began hitting tennis balls at age five with her mother, Susan. Loeb, now 24, turned professional in 2015 after playing two years at the University of North Carolina, where she won the 2015 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships. While at UNC, she amassed an 84–9 singles record. Loeb has won seven ITF (International Tennis Federation) singles events and six doubles events since 2012. As a junior player, she won the singles and doubles 18s championships at the 2012 USTA National Winter Championship.
JC Aragone is an American tennis player from Yorba Linda, California. Aragone, now 23, turned pro in 2017 after playing tennis at the University of Virginia. He was a member of three UVA teams that won the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships. His collegiate record was 109–22, and he was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team twice in singles and doubles. Aragone has won two ITF (International Tennis Federation) singles titles and one doubles title.
Francesca Di Lorenzo is an American tennis player raised in Columbus, Ohio. She started playing tennis at age seven and was the nation's top tennis recruit in high school. Francesca played collegiate tennis for two years at Ohio State University. In 2017, she won the NCAA Women's Doubles title and was named Ohio State Female Athlete of the Year. She finished the 2017 collegiate season as the No. 1 singles and No. 3 doubles player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Rankings.
Chris Eubanks is an American tennis player from Atlanta, Georgia. He learned tennis through a community program in Atlanta and played college tennis at Georgia Tech for three years. Chris finished the 2017 college seasons as the No. 8 singles and No. 30 doubles player and received the 2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award.
Danielle Collins is an American tennis player from St. Petersburg, Florida. She started playing tennis at age three with her parents, Walter and Cathy. Danielle played collegiate tennis at the University of Virginia and won the NCAA Women's Singles title in 2014 and 2016 during her sophomore and senior seasons. She graduated from UVA in 2016 with a degree in media studies, and as the top-ranked collegiate player in the country.
Mackie McDonald is an American tennis player who was born in Piedmont, California and raised by his parents Michael and Vivian. Mackie grew up idolizing former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden and tennis champion Roger Federer. He began playing tennis at the age of three and played college tennis at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2016 Mackie captured both the NCAA Men's Singles and Men’s Doubles titles, becoming the first person to do so since 2001. As an 18-year-old, he was the first unranked player in ATP history to qualify for an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. Mackie participated in his first Australian Open in January 2018, where he made it through qualifying and then defeated Elias Ymer in the first round. Mackie is a big supporter of the San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, and Los Angeles Lakers.
Martin Blackman became the general manager for USTA player development in June 2015. In this role, Blackman is responsible for partnering with the US tennis community to identify and develop the next generation of world-class American tennis players. He oversees both the USTA's player development staff and training centers, including its Regional Training Center network and the player development facilities at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida. This is Blackman’s second stint with player development; he previously served as senior director of talent identification and development from 2009 to 2011.
Blackman has a diverse and extensive background as a coach and a player, beginning with his days as a junior, when he trained with legendary coach Nick Bollettieri alongside future greats Andre Agassi and Jim Courier. He won the USTA Boys 16s National Championship in 1986 and reached the Boys 18s final two years later, and went on to become a member of two NCAA Championship teams at Stanford University. Blackman continued his play at the ATP level from 1989 to 1995, reaching a career high of No. 158. He then became the head coach of Men’s Tennis at American University in 1998. During his tenure at the university, Blackman was named conference Coach of the Year three times, leading the Eagles to three conference titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances, and their first-ever national ranking.
Blackman left the USTA in late 2011 to found his own tennis academy, the Blackman Tennis Academy, in Boca Raton, Florida. After only its second year of full-time programming, Blackman Tennis Academy sent all eight of its graduating students to college on tennis scholarships. Blackman also served two terms on the USTA Board of Directors, in 2003–04 and 2005–06, serving on the Audit and Collegiate Committees. He lives in Lake Nona, Florida with his wife and four children.
Lindsay Davenport is a former WTA world No. 1-ranked player. She joined Tennis Channel as an analyst in 2008 and provides insight to Tennis Channel throughout the tennis season, both in-studio and onsite.
After making her first tour appearance in 1991, Davenport had her breakthrough season in 1993 when she won her first title at Lucerne and broke into the top 100. She quickly moved into the top 10 that same year at Delray Beach, and played all four majors for the first time. In 1998, Davenport reached No. 1 in a season that was highlighted by sizzling summer hard-court form; she won four of five events at Stanford.
After an 11-month absence while having her first child in 2007, Davenport went 13–1 in three singles events—winning Bali, Beijing, and Québec City—quickly returning to the top 100. In 2008, Davenport announced her withdrawal from the 2009 Australian Open. In 2009, she left the tour indefinitely to have her second child.
Among the awards and recognition Davenport received over her career are 1993 Rookie of the Year by both Tennis magazine and World TeamTennis; Tour Player of the Year; and Tennis magazine Player of the Year in 1998 and 1999. Additionally, she was named Tour Player of the Month by the International Tennis Writers Association in October and November of 2001, as well as in February of 2003. Most recently, in 2008, she won Tour Comeback of the Year for her 2007 achievements. Davenport also received the Diamond ACES Award from the tour in 1998 and 1999 for her off-court contributions and she won the Prix Orange from journalists at Roland-Garros in 2000 for being the friendliest and most approachable player on the tour.
Ilana Kloss has led World TeamTennis (WTT) as the CEO/commissioner since 2001, overseeing both the professional sports league and nationwide grassroots community programs. Kloss is also president of Billie Jean King Enterprises and cofounder of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, a not-for-profit organization focused on promoting inclusive leadership and diversity in the workplace. A former world No. 1 doubles player and US Open doubles champion, Kloss is now actively involved in the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) as a member of the executive board and was past WSF board chair. A member of both the National and International Jewish Sports Halls of Fame, she was named Sports Businesswoman of the Year by the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center in 2007. Kloss serves on the executive boards of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Billie Jean King WTT Charities, and the Tennis Industry Association.
Todd Martin is the chief executive officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, a position he has held since 2014. As CEO of the Hall of Fame, Martin is responsible for the Hall of Fame’s buildings and grounds, a seven-acre complex built in 1880 which is now a National Historic Landmark. In addition to his role as CEO, Martin serves as tournament director of the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open, the only ATP World Tour event in the Northeast and the only pro grass-court tournament in the Americas.
Martin is retired from the ATP World Tour, where he was a top-ranked player in the 1990s and early 2000s. He achieved a career high ranking of No. 4 in the world, reached the finals at the US Open and the Australian Open, and was a member of the United States Davis Cup team that won the championship in 1995. Since retiring from the tour in 2004, he has served two terms as a director-at-large on the USTA Board of Directors, from 2011 through 2016. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Sportsmanship Committee and is a member of the International Committee. Martin is a member of the International Tennis Federation’s Development Generation Task Force; serves on the Board of Directors for the Tennis Industry Association; and is on the Oracle US Tennis Awards Advisory Council. In 1994, he launched Todd Martin Youth Leadership, which focuses on academic and tennis development for youth in the mid-Michigan region. Previously, Martin coached players Novak Djokovic and Mardy Fish.
Learning tennis on the public courts of Southern California, Peggy Michel was one of the top juniors from 1965 to 1968, ranking as high as No. 3 in Girls 16 and 18 Singles and No. 1 in Girls 16 and 18 Doubles. She was a member of the Southern California Junior Sectional Team Competition in 1967–68. Michel also won the Southern California/Perry T. Jones Sportsmanship Award in 1968.
Among one the finest players in intercollegiate competition, Michel entered Arizona State University in 1968 and was a collegiate singles and doubles finalist in her freshman year. She also was runner-up in the intercollegiate singles finals in 1971. Under Hall of Fame coach Anne Pittman, she helped lead the Sun Devils team to national titles in 1971 and 1972, and captured the doubles title both years. Michel went on to international success as a professional. Turning pro after graduation, Michel traveled to Australia where Coach Vic Edwards paired her with his longtime student Evonne Goolagong. The Michel–Goolagong duo took the world by storm, winning three Grand Slam events and heading up a championship Pittsburgh Triangles team in World Team Tennis.
In the game ever since, Michel coached the US Young Cup senior team to four straight international victories from 1995 to 1998. After retiring from the professional tennis world, she came back to Southern California and went to work with Charlie Pasarell and Raymond Moore, with whom she still works. Michel lives in Indian Wells, California and is currently the assistant tournament director at the BNP Paribas Open as well as vice president of Sales and Sponsorships for the tournament.
Dr. Timothy Russell was appointed chief executive officer of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) effective July 2015. He was inducted into the ITA's Men's Tennis Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2011, Russell was inducted into the USTA Southwest Section’s Tennis Hall of Fame and into the USTA Central Arizona Hall of Fame in 2009. In 2013 and 2014 he served as a member of the national Executive Committee of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in his capacity as a presidential appointee.
An avid tennis player since he was nine years old, Russell has been an active tennis volunteer locally, sectionally, and nationally during the last two decades. From 2007 to 2010 he was chair of the USTA's national Collegiate Varsity Committee. From 2011 to 2012 he served as a member of the USTA's Presidential Task Force on Tennis and Higher Education and as chair of the USTA's national Junior Competition Committee. He was a member of the USTA's national Youth Competition and Training Committee, of which he served as vice chair, from 2003 to 2008. Russell also served a two-year term as the national delegate from the USTA's Southwest Section, following a two-year term as the Southwest Section President. From 2003 to 2013 he served as chair of the Southwest Section’s Coaching Commission.
Russell has made three presentations at the USTA's National Tennis Teachers Conferences (regarding deliberate practice, mindfulness, and innovative ways to compare tennis teaching to the teaching of the arts) as well as offering sectional clinics. He was the coach of the Southwest Section's 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 14s Zonal team. In 2008 the Southwest Section team won the national Zone Team Championship. The Russell family was voted the Southwest Section Family of the Year for 2004, having been previously named the Phoenix Area's Family of the Year for 1999 and 2004. Russell was named the Phoenix Area's Junior Competitive Volunteer for 2000 and 2001, and was also named the Southwest Section's 2002 Junior Competitive Volunteer of the Year. He has become an innovative spokesperson for the sport of tennis.