NEW YORK, N.Y.—December 13, 2018—Larry Ellison, the co-founder, executive chairman and chief technology officer of software giant Oracle, has been named “Person of the Year” for 2018 by Tennis Industry magazine in the publication’s January 2019 issue. Ellison led off the magazine’s 18th annual “Champions of Tennis Awards,” which honors people, businesses and organizations dedicated to improving the sport and business of tennis.
An avid tennis fan and recreational tennis player, Ellison has set his sights on improving tennis in the U.S. He broke into the tennis world in 2009, spending $100 million to buy the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California, home to the BNP Paribas Open men’s and women’s professional tournament. Since then, he’s spent at least that much more in upgrading and improving the facility and event, which is why it’s perennially one of the favorite stops on the pro tours, not just for players, but also for fans. The other 50 weeks of the year, recreational players reap the benefit of Ellison’s investment in the 122-acre Indian Wells property.
Ellison, who has a net worth of about $60 billion, has also created partnerships with key groups within tennis, often teaming with his colleague and tennis ally, Mark Hurd, the CEO of Oracle and also a big tennis player and fan. Among Oracle’s partnerships are agreements with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association to sponsor national collegiate rankings, tournaments and college championship events, in addition to the Oracle U.S. Tennis Awards, providing funding to top tennis prospects going from college to the pros. Oracle also recently partnered with Universal Tennis, the company behind the UTR global tennis rating system.
“Larry Ellison is on a mission,” says Peter Francesconi, the editor of Tennis Industry, the world’s largest tennis trade magazine. “He’s set his sights on improving tennis in the U.S., and his interest, investment and unparalleled commitment to this industry is transformational for the sport.”
In addition to its Person of the Year, Tennis Industry named winners in 23 other categories for its 2018 Champions of Tennis Awards (see the January Tennis Industry digital edition for more on these winners):
- Tennis Industry Service Award: Doug Cash, Seymour, Ind.
- Private/Commercial Facility of the Year: The Club at Ibis, West Palm Beach, Fla.
- Tennis Sales Representative of the Year: Tom Kelley, San Diego
- Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year: Tennis Plaza, Miami
- Builder/Contractor of the Year: Competition McConnell & Associates, Kansas City, Mo.
- Grassroots Tennis Champion of the Year: Toni Wiley, Dorchester, Mass.
- Municipal Tennis Facility of the Year: A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center, Winnetka, Ill.
- Stringer of the Year: Diane Hamm-Vida, Shallotte, N.C..
- Community Tennis Association of the Year: People for Palmer Park Tennis, Detroit
- Tennis Advocate of the Year: Jane Morrill, Lucas, Texas
- Wheelchair Tennis Champions of the Year: Kevin Heim, Lincoln, Neb.
- Junior Tennis Champion of the Year: Lornie Kuhle, Encinitas, Calif.
- Public Park of the Year: Burns Park, North Little Rock, Ark.
- Park & Rec Agency of the Year: City of Roswell, Ga.
- High School Coach of the Year: Todd Rubinstein, Miami
- National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) Organization of the Year: New HYTEs, New Haven, Conn.
- Innovative Tennis Event of the Year: USPTA Leadership Academy
- Youth Tennis Provider of the Year: Craig Morris, Orlando, Fla.
- Adaptive Tennis Champion of the Year: Lisa Pugliese, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
- Adult Tennis Provider of the Year: Drop Shots Tennis League, Kentucky
- Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Member of the Year: Bert Cole, Arlington, Texas
- U.S. Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Member of the Year: Mark Faber, Toledo, Ohio
- U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Section of the Year: USTA Midwest
About Tennis Industry
Tennis Industry has been covering the tennis business and the sport for 47 years. Available in both print and digital editions, TI is the official publication of the Tennis Industry Association, U.S. Racquet Stringers Association, and American Sports Builders Association. Visit the Tennis Industry website.