The North Carolina Tennis Foundation announced Tuesday that Andy Avram and Christian (Chris) Kennedy will be featured in the 2014 class of inductees to the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame. Avram and Kennedy will be officially inducted in Pinehurst, N.C., at USTA North Carolina’s Tennis Weekend in January 2015.
The two inductees each have impressive tennis backgrounds in North Carolina. Their notable playing records and significant accomplishments on and off the court qualify them for this honor.
Avram, a current Charlotte resident and Winston-Salem native, started playing tennis at the age of 9 and learned the game from legendary Wake Forest University coach Jim Leighton. Avram would ultimately commit to play at Wake Forest, where he would become the team’s No. 1 player during his junior and senior years. Over the course of his career as a Demon Deacon, Avram won the ITCA Region 2 Indoor Singles Championship and was ranked as high as No. 18 in the national collegiate singles rankings.
As a high school player, Avram earned the No. 1 singles ranking in the USTA Southern Boys 18s, which covered players from nine states across the South. Avram won 18 North Carolina state tournament titles throughout his playing career. Those wins spanned over three decades of tournament play.
Avram extended his tennis career into coaching after college. He served in several capacities including assistant pro at Piedmont Indoor Tennis Center and assistant coach for the Wake Forest University men’s tennis team. Avram has also been a part of various tennis boards with the Charlotte Tennis Association, Olde Providence Racquet Club and the Wake Forest University Alumni Committee.
“I’m just really thrilled by it. The neat thing is I can share it with my family and friends. It’s a great honor,” Avram said of his upcoming Hall of Fame induction. “It’s hard to put into words. The neat thing for me is all the friendships I’ve made in tennis and the friends I continue to make by playing today.”
Kennedy, a native of Cary, enjoyed an illustrious career as a junior player. A two-time high school All American and NCHSCAS Player of the Year, Kennedy won North Carolina tennis state titles in the Boys 14s, 16s and 18s at the end of the 1970s. He followed those performances with titles at the National Interscholastic Singles and National Clay Court Doubles championships in 1981. In 1985 he was selected to the United States Junior Davis Cup roster.
Kennedy played his college tennis at NCAA powerhouse Trinity University in Texas. Besides having a Division 1 All-American playing career, he received the Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award and the John Van Nostrand Memorial Scholarship Award. Through all of his endeavors, Chris has been known as one of the “good guys” of tennis.
Kennedy played on the ATP World Tour for five years from 1985-1989. He achieved his highest world singles ranking at No. 301 in 1988 and his highest doubles ranking at No. 144 in 1986. Some of Kennedy’s notable accomplishments on tour included knocking off the No. 2 doubles seed of Mark Edmonson and Kim Warick at Wimbledon in 1986. He won singles matches against Mikael Pernfors and Richey Reneberg. Kennedy also defeated Andre Agassi in doubles in 1985.
Off the court, Kennedy frequently participates in and contributes to charitable tennis fundraising events. He participated in USTA promotional activities during his tenure with the Junior Davis Cup team, and he helped out with various community events while playing in college and on the pro tour.
“Tennis has been the foundation for my life. I value the people that tennis has brought me and I use the experiences that tennis taught me every day, “Kennedy said.
The North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame induction takes place annually at USTA North Carolina’s Tennis Weekend, a weekend event that brings together tennis professionals from across the state. The North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame currently includes 87 members dating back to its first class in 1975.
Avram, Kennedy to be inducted into NC Tennis Hall of Fame