Danielle Collins and Mackenzie “Mackie” McDonald were crowned as the inaugural recipients of the Oracle U.S. Tennis Awards.
Collins and McDonald each will receive a $100,000 grant intended to assist young players as they transition from college into the professional ranks.
Oracle CEO Mark Hurd and Hall of Famer Chris Evert presented the awards at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
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The pair were selected by a six-member advisory council comprised of former tennis professionals and executives.
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the governing body of college tennis, will administer the grants.
“I couldn’t think of two better people to receive these first awards than Danielle and Mackie,’’ said Oracle’s Hurd. “Our goal is to help deserving players in developing their games. Once you leave the collegiate ranks, you lose a lot of the built-in support that college provides.’’
Collins, 23, is a two-time NCAA singles champion for the University of Virginia. After a four-year college career, she turned pro last year following her graduation.
“This was such a surprise,’’ Collins said. “I’m so honored to have been selected.’’
McDonald, 21, also turned pro last year after playing tennis at UCLA from 2014-2016. He won the NCAA singles and doubles titles last year.
“It’s very exciting to be one of the first players to receive these awards," McDonald said. "It will certainly help me work to improve my game.’’
Evert, on behalf of the advisory council, congratulated the players and applauded Oracle for creating the awards. “Danielle and Mackie have bright futures ahead of them and the advisory board is confident these grants will help them on their way,’’ Evert said. “We’re all grateful to Oracle for recognizing this need and are hopeful that others will step up to support American tennis.’’
The newly created Oracle US Tennis Awards Advisory Council includes:
• Chris Evert: Former singles world No. 1; current ESPN tennis commentator; co-founder of Evert Tennis Academy.
• Ilana Kloss: Former singles world No. 19; commissioner of Mylan World Team Tennis.
• Peggy Michel: three-time grand slam doubles champion; played college tennis at Arizona State; current Assistant Tournament Director & Vice President of Sales at the BNP Paribas Open.
• Dr. Timothy Russell: CEO ITA; college educator for three decades. • Martin Blackman: General Manager, USTA Player Development; played college tennis at Stanford.
• Todd Martin: former singles world No. 4; CEO International Tennis Hall of Fame and Tournament Director, Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open; played college tennis at Northwestern University.
Photo credit: Oracle U.S. Tennis Awards