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David Hall


David Hall - Budgewoi Public School

Date of Birth:  14 January 1970

Place of Birth: Sydney

Nickname: Hally

Sport: Tennis

Personal Goals: To continue to be successful in my chosen career and to enjoy life and what I make of it.

Hobbies: Ford Mustangs, Heavy Metal Music

Favourite Quote: "What the mind can perceive - the body can achieve"

David Hall - Wheel chair Tennis Champion

 School YearsDavid Hall - Senior Boy Champion in Athletics


"I went to Budgewoi Primary School and North Lakes High School on the Central Coast and really enjoyed school. I was always heavily into sport and was fortunate enough to have PE teachers at both schools who fostered my talent.

Gary Balzola, or Mr B. was my PE teacher at Budgewoi. He was completely sport crazy and so was I, so it was a good match. He encouraged me constantly and helped me realise that sport was something I could pursue on a more serious, professional level. 


 It was in the last couple of years in Primary school when he gave me that real focus. He was hugely popular, a fantastic role model and motivator. Sport is a great vehicle for kids to develop their self-esteem.

David - Middle row, left

I wouldn't say I was disinterested in other areas of my schooling, but sport was always my number one concern. I was a mid-range student and I'm sure I could have done better, but I wasn't really interested.

Phil Whitehead was my tennis coach in high school and continued where Gary had left off. I was very lucky to have had two great role models during my schooling."




Gary Balzola:

"David was a pretty bright student and really loved his sport. He was a fantastic runner, winning numerous medals at all levels of competition. When he had the accident I offered whatever support I could. I still keep in contact with a lot of my students.

I am honoured that David mentioned me as all I ever tried to do in teaching was my best to care for the kids.

I never asked any of my students to do something that I wouldn't do. I would have a go and then expect them to do the same."

 David competed in the 1980 Country Championships

 (Excerpt taken from 'Inform' - March 2000, a monthly publication by the NSW Department of Education and Training)


General Background

Looking back to where it all began - 11th October 1986.

A significant day in David's life that started off like any other day. It was a Saturday with no definite plans except for his Mum's Surprise 50th Birthday Party that evening.

The night started well. They managed to keep the party a secret and his Mum was very surprised. It was a great party and it was nice for David to catch up with his relatives. However, being a 16 year old he had grander plans for the night.

He had also been invited to another party and after spending some time at his Mum's party he decided to head off to the next party. He was supposed to be getting a lift from one of his sister's friends but that didn't work out so he decided to hitchhike. In David's words - "MISTAKE NO. 1!"

He did have some luck getting a left 1/2 way there - but from this point on things took a turn for the worse. He was walking along the roadside and remembers coming to a hill - "at this moment my only concern was having to walk up the dam hill, but as it turned out it was the least of my worries."

When David reached the top of the hill the last thing he remembers was turning around and seeing a set of lights coming at him.

The next thing he remembers was waking up in Westmead Hospital sometime Sunday. He was told he had severe internal injuries as well as extremely damaged legs.

"Things weren't looking too rosy!" David said. And unfortunately it didn't get much better in the weeks to come.

After two weeks in Hospital doctors were forced to amputate David's left leg because of serious circulation problems. His overall condition was critical and he was in Intensive Care with around the clock supervision, The doctors were not optimistic about saving his right leg either, however they continued to try for the next two months.

Unfortunately, it became a matter of life and death and doctors were forced to amputate David's right leg as well. After five months David was discharged from Westmead Hospital and transferred to Wyong Hospital for rehabilitation.

"It was a long and tedious road to recovery and I was lucky to have such great support from my family and friends. Eventually I learnt to walk with prosthetics - at first I had to use 2 crutches, I then progressed to 2 walking sticks, then to I stick and finally I graduated to walking unassisted.

I finally escaped from rehab, which I can tell you was a great relief. The next challenge was adjusting to having a disability.

I could lie and tell you that it all went smoothly but I can assure you that there were at least one or two innocent victims that were exposed to my wrath. But I was told this was all part of the process."

In May 1987 David commenced a job at the local Police Station as a Clerk. He really enjoyed working there and was happy to be back in the 'real world'. Things were finally starting to look good and then one day it got even better.

"I was looking through the local paper and to my surprise I saw a picture of a guy in a wheelchair playing tennis - I couldn't believe it."

David had always been very sporty all his life and tennis was one of his favourites. At 13 and 14 he was Club Champion at his local tennis club. He decided to make contact with the guy in the newspaper article and ask how on earth you could play tennis in a wheelchair.

"I found out his name was Terry Mason and I gave him a call, He seemed like a nice guy and he was keen to show me the ropes - so we arranged to have a hit. When I arrived I saw that he was in a sports model wheelchair that moved like grease lightning and I turned up in an old hospital chair that moved like a tank. Terry could see my potential though - whenever he hit the ball near me I smashed it back.

This was exciting I thought although a little frustrating - but one thing was certain - I was hooked."

David continued to hit with Terry regularly and entered his first Competition the 'Albury-Wodonga Classic' in 1988.

The Start of a Career

"I rocked up in jeans and a flannelette shirt; people really didn't know what to make of me. It was only a small Tournament to say the least but I met some great people and I had a wonderful time."

David's love for wheelchair tennis continued to grow and in February 1989 he entered his first Australian Open. He competed in C Division and won - he was so happy. It was here that David became aware that wheelchair tennis had a world circuit with prize money and rankings just like the pros.

"In May 1990 I competed in my first international tournament. It was the Japan Open. This tournament had it all - parades, marching girls, brass bands, it was mind blowing.

I played in the top Division and was blown away when I made the Semi-Final. But the biggest thrill for me was seeing the then No. I and 2 in the world, Randy Snow from the USA and Laurent Giammartini from France playing in the Final. They were amazing - they were hitting shots from a wheelchair that I'd never seen before.

At that moment in time I knew this was my life - I wanted to be the best. I wanted to be the No. 1 wheelchair tennis player in the world."

On his return from Japan all David could think of was playing wheelchair tennis full-time. Working at Toukley Police Station no longer seemed that exciting. However, he had to earn a living, so he learnt to balance tennis and work.

In 1992 David was selected to represent Australia at the Paralympic Games in Barcelona. Still considered a new 'kid' on the block his results in Barcelona saw David defeatedin the 1st round in both singles and doubles.

"I did manage to have a really good holiday in Spain though!"

Turning Pro

"I knew I couldn't reach the next level in tennis unless I played full-time. So I had to make a choice. By this time I was extremely lucky to be in a position that I was able to leave my job so I did and then my life as a professional tennis player began."

In 1993 with fellow Australian Tennis player Dave Johnson from QLD, David set off on the 'Dave & Dave' tour around the USA.

"For six months we ate, drank and slept tennis. We had a fantastic time jumping from one tournament to the next. By the end of the season I was ranked No. 9 in the World".

David was on his way to realising his goal of becoming the best in the world.

It was in 1994 when David played his first full season. The year commenced in Sydney playing in the Sydney Summer Open and then it was onto Melbourne where he competed in the Australian Open, then off to Miami, Florida to play at the Lipton, which is an able-bodied pro event which invites the top 16 male wheelchair tennis players in the world. David recorded his first victory in the Lipton this year and this was his first major win of his career.

The year continued with David playing in the Japan Open in May, then travelling to Europe to compete in all the European tournaments, then back to America for the US Open in October.

"Now all this travelling sounds really great and it was, especially for my frequent flyer account, but the reality was I was living on the other side of the world, and the majority of tournaments were in the other hemisphere. So phase two of getting to the top was put into action."

In 1995 David moved to America."At first I really missed Australia but the benefits of not having to fly so far all the time outweighed the negatives."

When he reflects back moving to America was the best thing David could have done for his career. He first lived in Colorado where he met Rich 'the guru' Berman. Rich was a highly qualified Coach who took David to the next level in his sport.

"He was a great coach although at times, rather tough. One day it was snowing outside and he asked me 'how serious are you?'- I said, "I'm Serious!" He then said 'Well prove it and push to the courts today'.

Now I would usually push anyway and it would take about 45 minutes but when it was snowing I would normally catch the bus. So I decided to prove my dedication and I started pushing.

2 and a 1/2 hours later I arrived, exhausted, collapsed on the court, threw off my beanie, threw off my gloves and then to my horror Rich told me he was only joking.

He had sent out a search party for me - I couldn't believe I pushed the whole way in the snow but the good thing to come from it was that Rich never questioned my dedication again."

With Rich's guidance 1995 was the year that fulfilled all of David's dreams and goals.

"It started off good and just kept getting better. I won the Sydney Summer Open and the Australian Open for the first time. I then won the Japan Open for the first time and I then headed to Europe where I won the British Open for the first time."

The British Open and the US Open are ranked as Super Series events. They are the two biggest tournaments on the international wheelchair tour and they offer the greatest amount of World Ranking points. These events are the equivalent of the Grand Slam tournaments on the able-bodied Pro Tour.

David became the first Australian to ever win the British Open what he describes as "a fantastic feeling". This victory also saw David gain substantial ranking points and he progressed to World No. 2.

Following the British Open David travelled back to the USA to compete in the US Open, which was held in Irvine, California. This is where wheelchair tennis first began 20 years ago and because of this historical relationship the USA will always hold special significance.

The first wheelchair US Open was held in 1980 and over the next 15 years of the Tournament a Non-American player had never taken the prestigious Title.


"I'd had a fantastic year already and to win the US Open and to make history would have surpassed all my expectations."

The Making of World No. I Wheelchair Tennis Player

David went into the Tournament the No. 2 seed and moved through to the Semi-Final with reasonable ease. In the Semi-Final he was up against American Jim Black.

"I played well and won 6-2, 6-3.That put me into my first US Open Final, against another American, the defending Champion Steve Welsh from Texas.

It was an extremely tough match. I won the 1st set 6-3 but then Steve came back to take the 2nd 6-4. In the 3rd we went game for game until we came to a tiebreak.

A tiebreak would decide who would be the 1995 US Open Champion. The score was 7 points to 6 in my favour - I had match point, I served, he returned, I hit a forehand to his backhand, he barely reached it, the ball floated back but it caught the tape and dropped back on his side of the net.

I couldn't believe it. I had won the US Open, the tears started rolling down my cheeks - I was the US Open Champion.

All the training, the million balls that I'd hit, the pushing in the snow, all the hard work had paid off. This was the greatest day!!!

Not only was I the first Non-American to win but this win also took me to World No. 1. At this point I didn't think life could get any better and then I remembered I had tickets to Van Halen that night. I don't think I will ever forget that day."

Life as World No. I

In late 1995 David returned to Australia for Christmas.

"When I emerged from Customs I got yet another fantastic surprise. There were a bunch of family and friends there to welcome me home. It was great, they had banners saying 'Welcome home World No. 1 David Hall'. Even my Uncle Frank was there although his banner wasn't quite as complementary - it said 'Go Home You Yankee Bum'.

It was wonderful to have such a great welcome home. It was nice to be home for a while but I knew that the next season was right around the corner. As you know, it is almost harder to stay at the top then it was to get there. So after a short break I got back into training."

David was recognised and rewarded for his successful 1995 year by being crowned World Champion.

"It was a huge thrill, I was invited to the Black Tie Function in Paris to be held in mid 1996 to receive my Award alongside the able-bodied World Champions for 1995. I was presented with my trophy on stage with Pete Sampras and Stefie Graff - it was a great night."

The 1996 season began again in January and David commenced the year where he had left in 1995. David's year started with victories in 6 consecutive Tournaments. 

The Pain of Injury

"Unfortunately however my world came crushing down when I was in Holland in July. I tore my bicep. It was only two months until the Paralympic Games in Atlanta where I had hoped I could realise another dream and win a Gold medal for my Country."

This injury had devastated David. He travelled back to Colorado where he underwent an intensive rehabilitation program to try to make it back in time for the Paralympic Games.

"My arm did recover enough so that I could play in Atlanta; however, I was not as sharp as I would have liked due to a couple of months off the court.

It is a great honour to represent Australia at any time but I think I appreciated my chance to do so more in Atlanta than I did in Barcelona - maybe in part because I had a greater chance of winning a medal.

The 1996 Paralympic Team was the most successful Australian Team to ever leave Australian shores - I am proud I was part of it.

It is an unbelievable feeling to wheel out in front of 50,000 people for the Opening Ceremony. I can't wait to be part of the Team in Sydney. It is every athlete's dream to compete in front of his or her extremely bias home crowd.

I was fortunate enough to be a medal winner in Atlanta even though they weren't exactly the colour I was hoping for but considering the circumstances I was pleased with the Bronze I won in the Singles and the Silver I won in Doubles.

Since I was still living in America, unfortunately I missed the Ticket Tape Parade through the streets of Sydney. I was told it was fantastic and I will definitely be there in October."

At the end of the 1996 year David decided to move back to Australia because he missed my family and friends.

Back Home and Getting Back on Track

1997 was an up and down season for David. He went through some good patches and some bad. The highlight of his year was winning the US Open for the second time. "It wasn't quite as emotional as winning it for the first time but I was still very excited."

David finished the 1997 competition year at Ranked No. 2 in the world.

1998 was another successful year for David. He recorded his second victory in the British Open in July and with this he regained the World No. I ranking. Then in October he successfully defended his US Open title - again beating his arch-rival Steve Welsh (USA) in another third set tiebreak.

"I'm sure his memories at this point in time of playing at the US Open aren't quite as sweet as mine. This victory was very satisfying as it was the last time that the US Open would be held in Irvine as next year it is moving to San Diego."

This victory also ensured that David would remain at World No. I and guaranteed he would be announced as the World Champion for 1998.

1999 saw David become the first Wheelchair Tennis athlete in the world to record 4 consecutive Super Series (equivalent to the able-bodied Grand Slam) titles following his victory in the 1999 British Open. His victories in the 1997 US Open, 1998 British Open, 1998 US Open and 1999 British Open presented another mark in history and another highlight of David's career.

Taking the court to defend his 3rd consecutive US Open title in 1999 - unfortunately David was not provided the opportunity to make his way to the Final. David had progressed to the Quarter Final in the 1999 US Open and was on track to continue when his Tennis Chair suffered a crack in the frame and put David out of the Tournament. Loosing substantial ranking points as the defending Champion this defeat also results in David loosing his World No. I Ranking.

In November 1999 David was named the Australian Paralympic Committee's 1999 Male Athlete of the Year, a recognition well due for his outstanding career achievements to date.

David finished the 1999 year ranked No. 3 in the World.

2000 is Here

This is the year that every elite Australian athlete has been working towards. But for professional athletes they have a long way to go before they were to reach the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

Between January and start of the Paralympic Games in October 2000 David competed in a total of 16 Singles Tournaments and almost as many Doubles Tournaments.

Although the Paralympic Games was always in the back of David's mind throughout the 2000 tour he had also worked hard enough for his success to take him to World No. 1 in the Doubles competition and then regain the World No. 1 Singles crown.

Realising that Dream

By August 2000 David had won 6 Singles titles and with fellow Australian Dave Johnson the Doubles pair have recorded victories in 10 out of their 11 Tournaments and had gained the reputation as the 'Wheelchair Woodies'. David and Dave went into the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games as favourites for the Gold medal in the Doubles competition.

The Aussie pair were ranked World No. 1 and 2 on the international rankings with David holding the World No. 1 ranking.

In September 2000 David returned to the US Open claiming victory in the Singles competition - his fourth US Open title and a sweet victory following the 1999 Tournament.

Returning to Australia with just a day's rest David travelled to Canberra to perform an honour that will stay as a magic memory with him forever. On October 5th the Prime Minister of Australia on the forecourt of Parliament House lit the first Paralympic Torch held by David Hall to signify the start of the Paralympic Torch Relay and the countdown to the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.

"This is an honour that I will remember forever. I am proud to have been chosen as the first Paralympic Torch bearer, proud for my family and my friends to have been here with me on this special occasion."

Late on the afternoon before the Torch Ceremony David received the official international wheelchair tennis rankings. His 2000 success and in particular his victory in the US Open had resulted in him regaining the World No. 1 Singles ranking. In what was a memorable week David would now go into the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games in front of his family, friends and all those Sydneysiders as the World No. 1.

Just Days from Gold

David has said prior to the Paralympic Games – "I have now achieved many of the goals and dreams I had set for myself and my career - I am now focusing on the US Open in September/October and then Paralympics in Sydney in October. Seeing as I missed out on a Gold medal in Barcelona and Atlanta I'm really hoping for third time lucky. I believe that if I do achieve this I would have achieved everything I had ever dreamed of in wheelchair tennis.

I am grateful for all the opportunities that sport has given me over the years. In the beginning it helped me to overcome my accident and later it has taken me all around the world and I've experienced so many things and met so many great people that I feel very fortunate."

There was no questioning that the Aussie Doubles pair had gone into the Paralympic Games as the hot favourites of the competition and as the World No. 1 in Singles David was of course a firm favourite with what some would have said was a home crowd advantage.

No matter the success leading into Paralympic competition there will never be anything remotely like a sure bet when you are competing at the highest level possible in your sport.

They had dominated the world in 2000 but Paralympic Gold was not to be for the Aussie double of David and Dave Johnson. The pair played brilliantly and made their way to the final to be defeated on the day taking Silver for Australia. This Silver matched the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Silver won by David with then Doubles partner Mick Connell.

One Down and One To Go

10,000 spectators have taken with them a memory that will stay vivid in their minds from that October 28th Saturday in Sydney. Head in hands David Hall shook all over as he attempted to absorb the realisation that he had just won Paralympic Gold - creating sporting history with the first Paralympic Tennis Gold to have been won by Australia.

His career was complete; he had set the goals, achieved success and felt the pain and sorrow. Years of dreaming had now all come to fruition in front of his family and friends.

It has been a year - 8 singles titles including the prestigious US Open, a World Team Cup title to Australia, World No. 1 rankings in both Singles and Doubles and Paralympic Gold and Silver.

There is no doubt that 2000, the year that needed to be, actually was one of the best years of David's career. It was all part of his plan, a plan that he implemented down to the very fine detail. David capped off a year full of sporting and personal memories by being crowned ITF World Wheelchair Tennis Champion for 2000 (an honour he has earnt on two previous occasions) and International Male Wheelchair Athlete of the Year.

What Does the Future Hold

There had been great anticipation surrounding the close of 2000, many had been waiting for the decision that could have impacted on Australian sport with just a few words.

David Hall has given a life commitment to his sporting career and as with all great athletes there will need to be an ending. However, ranked World No. 1 and crowned World Champion seem to all those around him very good reasons for his career to continue.

Australia's dominance of international wheelchair tennis will have a longer life, at least for 2001 with David deciding to extend his career and compete internationally this year.

The Australian public, all those newly converted wheelchair tennis spectators, will now have the opportunity to watch one of this country's great sporting champions for a brief period longer.

"One of my last goals as far as tennis is concerned is to take this sport to a level where we are recognised for our skill and ability rather than our perceived disabilities."

The Herald Weekender - June 25, 2005:

Holding Court (written by Ben Quinn)

"...In the past 15 years David Hall has built a formidable record that stands at 604 wins and 106 losses.

He has won more than 80 tournaments, including eight US Opens, eight Australian Opens, six British Opens and eight Japan Opens."

"...This year he has the chance to write history. He has already won the Australian Open in February and Japan Open in May. Later next month he will contest The British Open, followed by the US Open in October."

"...I finished with the top ranking in 1995, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004. That's the goal that keeps driving me more than anything."

"What the mind can perceive - the body can achieve"

David Hall