Induction Year: 2005
Tim Heckler (1942-2013) was a top junior tennis player in South Africa before coming to the U.S. to play for Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. His team remained unbeaten for his 4 years with wins over top NCAA teams.
Heckler was ranked No. 1 in Men’s Open Doubles in Texas four years (1969, 1971, 1973 and 1974) with fellow inductee, Paul Christian. He played Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and was ranked as high as No. 54 in the U.S. Heckler was chief executive officer of the USPTA for 30 years (1982-2012). When Heckler began the position of USPTA CEO, the organization had approximately 2,400 members and an annual budget of $700,000. He grew the association to the world’s oldest and largest organization of its kind, serving more than 15,000 members in 66 countries, and operating on an annual budget of $6.5 million.
With Heckler’s guidance, USPTA became one of the first tennis organizations to embrace technology, first through the computerization of the business itself as early as 1982, and then later through its use of the Internet.
The USPTA honored Heckler in 2000 by naming him a grand inductee in the Association’s Hall of Fame. He also received the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Tennis Educational Merit Award in 2002. In 2008 he received the highest honor awarded by the United States Professional Tennis Association, the George Bacso Lifetime Achievement Award.