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Select 50 honored in Newport

7/10/2004

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Fifty of the greatest players in tennis
history received a royal welcome Saturday at the Hall of Fame's
50th anniversary celebration.

Under sparkling sunny skies, Prince Albert of Monaco introduced
47 Hall of Famers and the class of 2004 -- Steffi Graf, Stefan
Edberg and Dorothy "Dodo' Cheney -- to a sellout crowd on the
grass courts.

'What an honor to help pay tribute to legends who have inspired
us all," Prince Albert said.

Graf, Edberg and Cheney will be enshrined before the Hall of
Fame Tennis Championships' title match on Sunday.

Led by Guillermo Vilas walking behind the Argentinean flag,
players entered the court in alphabetical order by nation. The
biggest ovation of the day was for Chris Evert, owner of 18 Grand
Slam titles.

"It's just wonderful because every single week of the year it's
about the current players and who's playing well,' Evert said
after the 50-minute ceremony. 'It's nice to pay tribute to the
past.'

The players ranged in age from Gardnar Mulloy, 90, to the
35-year-old Graf. They were introduced by decade as they were
seated on white chairs on center court.

'They were my idols,'' Evert said. 'There's a camaraderie
amongst the Hall of Famers that doesn't exist amongst the players
today. It's just big business."