Former WTA Tour world No. 1 Justine Henin, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles, and Marat Safin, a two-time major champion and former ATP World Tour world No. 1 have been elected to receive tennis' highest honor - induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Justine Henin, 33, of Belgium, was the world No. 1 player for 117 weeks. She was the year-end No. 1 three times, clinching the top spot in 2003, 2006, and 2007.
Of the induction, Justine Henin stated, "It's a big honor. I was five years old when I started playing tennis and my dream was to become a champion. All of the things that then happened- all the dreams that came true, all the victories and Grand Slams, and every emotion that I lived in my tennis career remains something very important in my life today. Being part of the Hall of Fame says that it will remain something forever, and that is very special. I am really honored."
Marat Safin, 36, of Russia, is a two-time Grand Slam tournament champion. He held the world No. 1 ranking for nine weeks, and was in the world top-five for 119 weeks.
Marat Safin commented, "I'm very happy to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me and supported me throughout my tennis career. To be part of a Hall of Fame is every athlete's dream. I am really honored to be inducted and proud to represent Russian tennis alongside the greatest champions of tennis history."
"Justine and Marat committed themselves to the sport and worked relentlessly to being champions of the highest caliber. As a result, they achieved extraordinary careers with world No. 1 rankings and Grand Slam tournament victories. They led their nations to victories in Fed Cup and Davis Cup. They are rightfully a source of national pride in Belgium and Russia, and we are look forward to welcoming them as the very first Hall of Fame inductees from those nations," said Stan Smith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 and now serves as the International Tennis Hall of Fame President and Chairman of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee.
Smith continued, "Also this year, we remember and recognize the achievements of two of tennis' great early champions - Yvon Petra, who claimed a Wimbledon title after five years as a prisoner-of-war, and Margaret Scriven, who won two back-to-back singles titles at the French Championships. Their success is part of the sport's storied history, and we're glad to recognize their accomplishments. We look forward to celebrating all of the inductees in Newport in July."