That is, according to Joel Drucker, one of the world's premier tennis writers. I have to say, this provided a minor history lesson for me. I had never even heard of a few of these people. Nevertheless, here is the list. See if you agree, but more importantly, do you think he left anyone out?
1. Jack Kramer: "...both Michael Jordan and David Stern...tennis' George Washington"
2. Billie Jean King: An innovator and a pioneer, female athletes everywhere should appreciate this woman for what she did. The day she beat Bobby Riggs, she proved that girls really can play with boys.
3. Gladys Heldman: The founder and publisher of *World Tennis* magazine...."the game's conscience"
4. Lamar Hunt: The oil billionaire who poured the money into tennis, paving the way for the ATP, big-time TV contracts, and a successful, multi-million dollar tour.
5. Bill Tilden: "...tennis' Babe Ruth – the first major champion who ushered in his sport's modern era. As the saying went, 'Tilden and tennis, in that order.'"
6. Herman David: Leader of the All-England Club
7. Jimmy Connors: "For a time, he was the tennis' Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath and Pete Rose all rolled into one. Add to that the intensity of Robert De Niro and supreme longevity and you're looking at one of the most compelling players who ever stepped on a court."
8. Arthur Ashe: An incredibly influential African-American athlete. I dare say he's up there with the Jackie Robinsons of the world in his contributions on and off the court.
9. Howard Head: Hell, many of my tennis outfits are Head. His brand is still alive and well. After launching the Prince Classic in 1976 with its 110-inch sized head, a huge racket that many thought absurd became the standard.
10. Venus & Serena Williams: By the time they were teenagers they were known the world-over on a first-name basis. People who know nothing about tennis still know who they are. Enough said.