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IC of GB Ball & Garden Party

International Lawn Tennis Club (IC) of Great Britain

The IC Ball

The IC Ball was held on Saturday 21sr June at the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. The Ball plays an important part in the IC’s social calendar with many seeing it as the highlight. The Ball is also an integral part of the Wimbledon fortnight as it marks the start of Wimbledon with many guests from the world of tennis being invited. We were pleased this year to have Neale Fraser along with the IC’s of Japan and Luxembourg as our honoured guests. Stuart Smith, President of the Lawn Tennis Association and Tim Phillips, Chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis Club were also guests.

Barry Weatherill, the IC of GB’s new President, provided a welcoming speech to the guests. Barry took over as President from John Barrett who after many years decided it was time to retire from the role. The full text of Barry’s speech is available on the website. At the conclusion of his speech, Barry presented the IC’s “Sportsmanship Award” for 2008 to Paul Hutchins.

Not only has the IC of GB had a change in its President but we have a new Chairman, David Waite. David took over the position from Peter McQuibban who decided to stand down as a consequence of his posting to Washington DC. David Waite thanked Peter for his 6 years as Chairman and wished him well in Washington DC.

As the United States of America are the current holders of the Davis Cup we were fortunate to have as our guest speaker Peter Fleming who has 59 Doubles titles, 7 of which were Grand Slams with John McEnroe. Peter recalled many a story about is playing days and raised some thoughtful points around how the game has changed since the days he was playing the tour.

Our thanks go to Karen Whishaw who once again did a wonderful job in arranging the entire event and making it a night to remember. I would urge you to set aside Saturday 20th June 2009 in your diary to come to the 2009 Ball and bring a few guests.

Hurlingham Garden Party

The Hurlingham Garden Party was held on Sunday 22nd June, following the prestigious IC Ball. The day was sunny and warm and a wonderful day was had by all who attended. The Garden Party is a very social event with a military band providing stirring music to the many side shows and activities that were available.

Those who attended were treated to a wonderful exhibition doubles match between Ross Hutchins (GB) and Stephen Huss (Aus) playing Eric Butorac (USA) and Ashley Fisher (Aus). Hutchins and Huss were the eventful winners 7/6 7/6. The match was of an exceptionally high standard and showed how much the game has moved on with the “I” formation very much in evidence.

The day’s events also included a match between the IC of GB and Hurlingham club. The IC of GB winning a tight contest 3 - 1.

Each year the IC of GB invites other ICs to join us in a 5 day tour involving matches at Edgbaston Priory (Birmingham), Saint Georges (Weybridge) and Hurlingham. The Hurlingham match coincides with the Garden Party and a rather small but very select representation of the IC of GB participated in an enjoyable friendly match with the ICs of Japan and Luxembourg. Because of the different sizes of the teams we set up the pairings across nationalities which further enhanced the feelings of friendship.





It is a great pleasure for me to welcome our many guests, in particular, our overseas guests to this occasion, viewed by many as the traditional opening of the Wimbledon fortnight.

As many of you may know, the IC family around the world has 35 operating clubs with a membership of approximately 4,000 players. What many of you don't know is that the IC Council, the umbrella body, has responsibility for an arsenal of events (seven in all) in which players of all ages can participate. The newest addition to this arsenal is the IC World Junior Challenge a team event for 2 boys and 2 girls of 16 and under. The final this February took place from a field of 23 countries in Auckland, New Zealand, and was won by the New Zealanders, despite strong challenges from South Africa, Italy and Great Britain. This event has captured the imagination of the countries in which the preliminary rounds have been played, namely last year India, South Africa, New Zealand, Italy, Argentina and Mexico. In addition to participating these young players gave a coaching clinic for disabled and wheelchair tennis players – a unique opportunity for young people on the ITF junior circuit to experience the pleasure of playing in a team and, at the same time, contributing to the welfare of those less physically fortunate. I am happy to say that the enterprise responsible for sponsoring this event is Compass plc, the international catering group whose Director responsible for sport and leisure Matthew Thompson and his wife Amanda are here tonight. On behalf of the International Clubs Worldwide, I have to express our huge gratitude for your support.

There are also events for all other age groups, men and ladies and for your interest I wanted to mention two. The Potter Cup for 45 plus veterans, attracts ITF points and is played every year in Barcelona with the pick of veterans worldwide taking part. I mention it this year not only because it is an excellent event, but because for the first time for 25 years it was won by the IC of Great Britain, thanks to the participation of our Captain, Jeremy Bates and his outstanding team.

Also, this year many of us are looking forward to attending or participating in an IC week at the Chevy Chase Club in Washington to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the International Club of the USA. Some 128 players of all age groups (including a good cross section of former Davis and Fed Cup players) are participating from 21 countries.

As a worldwide organisation we are proud of our heritage which arose from the notion that much international goodwill could flow if international sportsmen participated in bi-lateral matches and multi-lateral events during and after their top playing careers were over. Our mantra, "Hands Across the Net, Friendship Across the Ocean", is as relevant and effective today as it was when the mother club, the IC of GB was founded in 1924. In a recent edition of Time, my eyes fell upon an article about a young Israeli girl, Shahar Peer, ranked at the time, 17th on the WTA circuit, who wanted to play in the Qatar Open. Having entered, she expected her entry to be rejected, as has happened in previous years with Israelis seeking to play in events in Arab countries. To her surprise, the Qatar authorities not only welcomed her, but guaranteed her security protection. In recent history, many will remember the clandestine visits of the IC of GB to South Africa at a time when apartheid had isolated that country from the world community and to India when Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency – illustrations of the fact that sport transcends politics and national barriers - and that in many ways is what we do.

The very high standard of our events and the experience of those who play in them, means that those who have enjoyed the experience of participation in an IC event, rarely refuse the next invitation. For many of our members, participation is a means for them of extending and retaining their international friendships and continuing to play competitive international tennis.

There are many guests here tonight who I should mention, but to save their embarrassment and to ensure that not too many of you go to sleep, I will mention very few.

We are delighted to have with us Angela Barrett who as Angela Mortimer won Wimbledon in 1961, having already won Roland Garros in 1955 and the Australian Open in 1958. Described as someone whose determined, steady play, backed by unruffled patience, won her the Wimbledon title. It is her husband John who has spent so many years, with Angela’s

support, dedicated to the IC from whom I have now taken over as President and I would like to thank John most sincerely for all his work on our behalf since 1968 when he was the Club’s Captain.

Next we have Neale Fraser, the winner of the Men's Singles at Wimbledon in 1961 and no fewer than 17 other Grand Slam titles including the singles at the US and Australian Open. It is always good to see Neale and his wife Thea still enthusiastic about visiting the UK. “A dogged left hander who never gave up”.

It is also very good of Tim Philips and his wife Elizabeth and Stuart Smith and his wife Marilyn, as heads respectively of Wimbledon and the LTA, giving their support to this occasion. Both these organisations in their different ways contribute greatly to our activities and we are extraordinarily grateful for that continuing support.

Before mentioning our team guests, I would also like to welcome the cadre of members of the press who we are very pleased to see in such numbers . We are very much hoping that our friends from the press, with the benefit of a greater understanding of the ICs, will appreciate the relevance and contributory nature of this entity in the great world of tennis.

We have in recent years developed a tradition of inviting two or three teams to play matches against the IC of GB in the days before Wimbledon. This year we are greatly honoured that a large group from the IC of Japan have travelled halfway around the world to play against us. This is the first time that we have received a team form Japan. It is a very strong team which includes 4 former Davis Cuppers, in particular former Wimbledon player, Osamu Ishiguro, who in the year that Neale won Wimbledon, as he recalls, beat him at Beckenham in the lead up to Wimbledon.

We are also delighted to see the Japanese back on the scene and I am happy to announce that next year they will be holding a Columbus Trophy event for men of 55 and 65. probably in October or November.

We also welcome a group from Luxembourg. Although a small country, the IC of Luxembourg has participated in nearly all IC events from the time of their formation. They are what you might call a small and exclusive Club, but they like it that way and in their group they too have 4 former Davis Cup players.

I am assured that the tour for both teams has been a great success. In the tennis, at the match in Edgbaston the three teams managed a diplomatic draw but when it came to playing at St Georges Hill, in the rough and tumble of the South East, the IC of GB were ahead by, shall we say, a small margin.

Could I ask these two visiting teams to stand up so that we can applaud their presence.

Almost finally, I have a duty to perform which gives me personally great pleasure. Another part of the IC's culture is to encourage sportsmanship on the Court. Many Clubs have their own sportsmanship award as does the IC of GB. This year, the man who I would describe as a gentle giant in British tennis, has won this award in recognition of his constant good humour on and off court, his total commitment to the development of British Tennis and his special example to us all. He was a circuit player for 8 years, ranked 6 in the UK for a number of years. He is the last Captain of a British Davis Cup team to take his team to the final in 1978, having beaten Australia in the semi-finals. The British team of Buster Mottram, the Lloyd brothers and Mark Cox lost 4-1 to the US in California. His great skills as a motivator and his organisational prowess were described to me as the reasons for his success. He has helped the IC Council enormously as Development Officer and is currently the Director of British men’s tennis; so it is with pleasure that I ask Paul Hutchins to come forward to receive this trophy, at the same time wishing him every success in the national quest to raise the standards of the game in the UK..

Finally, not only in recognition of the 75th Anniversary of the formation of the IC of the USA, but also to congratulate the Americans on winning the Davis Cup in 2007, we have as our main guest Peter Fleming – almost a naturalised Brit, but in many respects a wry observer on major tennis events while he works for Sky, Eurosport and the BBC as link man and commentator. Peter is also a winner of many Grand Slam Events through his partnership with the much talented John McEnroe and others. He with John won 4 Mens Finals titles at Wimbledon, 3 at the US Open and in total, Peter has won 59 event titles. Bits of his website reveal his years of study in the fields of movement, health, nutrition and performance. We could all do with a bit of that!

I am sure Peter you will remember the occasions when you sat in the interview room at Wimbledon facing hostile questions as the press became increasingly inflamed as John answered them, while you gave your tacit and vocal support to your creative partner. Heady days! As I hand over to Peter, could I please ask all the members of the International Club of Great Britain present to stand and drink to the health and good fortune of our guests in time honoured fashion.

Barry Weatherill,

President: IC of GB. 21st June 2008
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