Jean Borotra CQS Sportsmanship Award

This award is made periodically to a player who has shown throughout his or her playing career the outstanding standard of sportsmanship commensurate with the objects of the International Clubs. 

The relevant objective of the ICs is to “develop, encourage and maintain the highest standards of sportsmanship and understanding among players of all nations and among young players in particular.”

2002 winner Todd Martin

2002 winner Todd Martin

As a tennis player his on-court achievements and his impeccable deportment – both in victory and defeat – stamp him as one of the great Americans of the past decade. As a man his contribution to the welfare of those less fortunate than himself reveal him as a very caring human being. 

In so many ways Todd Christopher Martin is special. As one of the leading juniors in Hinsdale, the Illinois town where he was born 33 years ago, his peers always looked up to him – well, they had to for, on the way to his present height of 6'6" Todd was always head and shoulders above most of them – both literally and metaphorically. 

Todd closed his junior career by successfully defending his US International Grass Court title in 1988, a performance which lifted him to a national junior ranking of No. 3. This was the prelude to two successful years at Northwestern and the capture of his first important title, the Rolex National Indoor Collegiate Championship. That was in 1990, the year he turned professional. 

Within four years Todd had joined the exclusive Top Ten club and had been recognized by his fellow professionals as the Most Improved Player of 1993. That same year, and again in 1994, Todd received the ATP Sportsmanship Award, confirming the respect in which he was held by his contemporaries. It was no surprise, therefore, when in 1995 he was elected to serve a two-year term as President of the ATP Tour Council – a roll he would be asked to fill again between 1998 and 1999. 

Todd is unlucky that his time in tennis has coincided with the careers of two of the game's greatest-ever players. It was Pate Sampras who thwarted his attempt to win a first Grand Slam title in the Australian Open final of 1994; five years later he faced Andre Agassi in the final at Flushing Meadows and again Todd had to be content with second place. 

That last performance had lifted Todd to a career-high ranking of No. 4 and included an heroic comeback from two sets to love down against Greg Rusedski. It is a measure of Todd's fighting qualities that eight times now he has won matches at the Grand Slams after recovering from such a deficit – a unique achievement among active players. 

Perhaps it is that never-say-die attitude that has made him such a valuable member of US Davis Cup teams, Since his debut in 1994 Todd has competed in 17 ties – none more thrilling than the Battle of Moscow in 1995 when his doubles win with Sampras contributed to a memorable Cup winning victory against the Russians. 

Proud as Todd will be of that success he is prouder still of the work that has been achieved these last eight years by the Development Fund that bears his name. The programme of Leadership Development, devised in collaboration with his junior coach Rick Ferman, has improved the lives of hundreds of children in his former hometown of Lansing, Michigan. 

It is this same awareness of the need to share his good fortune in life with others that has made Todd such an effective member of the Board which administers the Tim and Tom Gullikson Foundation. Equally, his expert golf swing (he is a two handicap player) has made a significant contribution to the success of "Swingtime', a pro-celebrity tennis and golf fund-raiser held each year in West Palm Beach, Florida. 

All of us associated with the International Clubs around the world – and we now number 34 are delighted that Todd is here today to accept the International Club Jean Barotra Trophy. This is a very special award given from time to time to a player whose career has exemplified the true spirit of sportsmanship and fair play which is the central theme of all our activities. Ladies and Gentlemen, I can think of no more worthy recipient than Todd Martin.
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