Former world No. 1's Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick have been nominated for the highest honor in the sport of tennis- induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Clijsters and Roddick are both on the ballot in the Recent Player Category for induction in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Monique Kalkman, a Paralympic gold medalist and notable Dutch wheelchair tennis player of the 1990s has been nominated in the Recent Player Category for Wheelchair Tennis. In recognition of their commitment to the development of the sport, two individuals are nominated in the Contributor Category. Vic Braden, a renowned tennis instructor who was among the first to apply sports science to his instructional tactics, has been nominated posthumously. Steve Flink, a distinguished tennis historian, broadcaster, and journalist has also been nominated.
Located in Newport, Rhode Island, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and promoting the history of tennis and celebrating its greatest champions. Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame recognizes the sum of one's achievements at the highest possible level.
"Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick are two incredibly dynamic athletes who certainly left their mark on tennis history. They were both relentlessly committed to the sport, and as a result they reached the top of the game. Monique Kalkman was an inspiration to many and her success in the Paralympics and significant tournaments places her at the pinnacle of wheelchair tennis," said Stan Smith, International Tennis Hall of Fame President and 1987 Hall of Famer, who also serves as Chairman of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. "In addition to the athletes who excel at the top levels of the sport, growth and engagement in tennis worldwide also hinges on dedicated industry leaders who are so passionate about the game, such as Vic Braden in his teaching and Steve Flink in his work as a journalist and historian. Congratulations to all the nominees on this great recognition of their careers."
Voting for the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will take place this fall, and the inductees will be announced in the first quarter of 2017.
"I'm very honored to be on the ballot for International Tennis Hall of Fame induction," said Clijsters, winner of four Grand Slam singles titles. "The women who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame are great champions who I have always admired. It's an honor to be considered to be part of that incredible group of athletes, and I'm grateful for this acknowledgement of my career."
"I'm incredibly honored to be considered for the Hall of Fame," said Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion. "I put my all into our sport for many years, and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to compete with some of the best athletes tennis has ever known, many of whom were idols I looked up to all my life. It is a huge honor for me to have my name be considered to be alongside theirs in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. I'd like to extend my thanks to the nominating committee for including me on the ballot."
"This is a great honor for me to be on the ballot for Hall of Fame induction. To have wheelchair tennis be celebrated on such a high level through the International Tennis Hall of Fame is outstanding, and when I think about my tennis career being part of the sport's forever legacy, I am deeply humbled and honored," commented Kalkman.
ABOUT THE NOMINEES
Recent Player Category: Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick, and Monique Kalkman
Eligibility criteria for the Recent Player Category is as follows: Active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP World Tour, WTA Tour, or Wheelchair Tennis Tour within five years prior to induction; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character.
Kim Clijsters, 33, of Belgium, was the world No. 1 player for 19 weeks and was ranked within the world top-5 for 250 weeks during her career. She is one of six women to have been ranked No. 1 in the world for both singles and doubles.
Bolstered by a powerful baseline game and remarkable defensive skills on court, Clijsters won four Grand Slam tournament singles titles. She is a three-time US Open champion (2005, 2009, 2010) and she also won the 2011 Australian Open. Clijsters also won two major doubles titles, winning both the French Open and Wimbledon in 2003.
Clijsters is a three-time champion at the WTA Tour Championships. She won 41 singles titles in all, including 7 WTA Tour Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 titles. Clijsters was a dedicated Belgian Fed Cup team member, leading the team to their first Fed Cup title in 2001 and into the finals again in 2006.
Clijsters retired from tennis in 2007, and then embarked on a second career in tennis with a comeback in 2009. That year, she went on to win the US Open, in what was just her third tournament back on the tour. She was unranked, unseeded, and a wild card entry to the event. Having had her first child in 2008, the victory also made Clijsters the first mother to win a major since 1980 (Evonne Goolagong Cawley).
Andy Roddick, 34, of the United States, is a former world No. 1 and US Open champion. Roddick held the world No. 1 ranking for 13 weeks, and he was year-end No. 1 in 2003. Roddick finished the season in the top-10 of the ATP Rankings for nine straight years (2002 - 2010). He held rankings inside the world top-5 for 187 weeks during the course of his career.
In 2003, Roddick defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero to win the US Open title, closing out the match on three straight aces. He returned to the finals in 2006, and he was also a three-time finalist at Wimbledon. Roddick won 32 singles titles, including five ATP Masters 1000 tournaments.
Roddick was a dedicated team member of the United States Davis Cup team for 10 years. In 2007, he was instrumental in leading the U.S. to defeat Russia for their 32nd Davis Cup victory.
Known for his incredibly fast and powerful serve, Roddick set multiple records for fastest serve recorded at specific tournaments over the years. His personal best was a 155 mph ace at the 2004 Davis Cup, which was the fastest serve in tennis history at the time.
Roddick is the founder of the Andy Roddick Foundation, a non-profit that is dedicated to offering enrichment programs for kids outside of the classroom to provide growth opportunities literacy, STEM, art, and sports. Since retiring from the ATP World Tour, Roddick has stayed active in the sport, competing in WorldTeam Tennis and PowerShares Series events. He has also worked in broadcast for Fox Sports and the BBC.
Monique Kalkman, 52, of the Netherlands, is a former wheelchair tennis player who achieved the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles. She was world No. 1 in singles for 126 weeks, and she spent a collective 264 weeks during her career in the world top-5.
A passionate athlete from a very young age, Kalkman was involved in many sports and had dreams of becoming a top athlete and sports teacher. She was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 and, as a result, was left paralyzed from the waist down. As she recovered, Kalkman revised her dreams to be fitting of her life as a wheelchair user.
In 1984 she became a Paralympic champion in table tennis, and then switched her focus to wheelchair tennis in 1986. From 1992 to 1996, Kalkman won three Paralympic medals in wheelchair tennis. She became the first and only female athlete in two different individual sports (tennis and table tennis) to win Paralympic Gold medals.
In addition to her success in the Paralympics, Kalkman was the ITF Wheelchair Tennis World Champion four times (1992 - 1995) and she was an 8-time champion in Super Series events. Kalkman's career record of 151-25 singles record and her 53-7 doubles record puts her as one of the winningest wheelchair players of all time.
Kalkman has retired from wheelchair tennis and is an active golfer today. She serves as a Wheelchair Tennis Ambassador for the ITF, working to promote the sport worldwide to expand the base of players of all ages and abilities. Additionally, she works as Manager of Innovation and Participation at Welzorg, the largest supplier of equipment for people with disabilities in the Netherlands.
Contributor Category: Victor Braden and Steve Flink
Eligibility criteria for the Contributor Category is as follows: Individuals who have made exceptional contributions that have furthered the growth, reputation, and character of the sport, in categories such as administration, media, coaching, and officiating. Contributor candidates do not need to be retired to be considered.
Vic Braden was a tennis instructor, a transformative educator of tennis teachers, and lifelong student of the game himself. Braden was a pioneer in the scientific studies of the physics of tennis, and he dedicated his tennis career to bringing rational, research-based instruction to tennis in a way that made the instruction clear and enjoyable.
Braden combined his training as a psychologist, and his passion for the sport to create unique platforms to expand public interest and participation in tennis. He was involved in the development of some of the sport's most successful players, including Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, and he trained the coaches of many of the game's top professional players. However, his work was not solely focused on elite athletes, but was also highly focused on teaching tennis teachers, so they could engage recreational players in the sport in a meaningful way, thereby growing the game significantly.
Braden was the co-founder of the Coto Sports Research Center and the Vic Braden Tennis Colleges in numerous locations worldwide. He served on the board of the Vic Braden Sports Institute for Neurological Research. He was a professor at UCLA, and served as a tennis coach at the University of Toledo.
Braden was a skilled communicator as well. He produced engaging tennis training materials, was the author of six books, and was a frequent commentator on major network broadcasts of the sport.
Braden is nominated posthumously. He passed away in 2014 at age 85.
Steve Flink, of New York, is one of tennis' preeminent historians and journalists. A lifelong tennis enthusiast, Flink began his career in tennis in the early 1970s when Hall of Famer Bud Collins hired him to help with research at Wimbledon and the US Open. By 1974, he was on staff at World Tennis magazine, where he was a writer and editor until 1991, eloquently sharing the stories of tennis tournaments around the world to readers at home. From 1992 to 2007, he was senior writer for Tennis Week. For the past eight years, he has been lead columnist for tennischannel.com.
Flink's extraordinary knowledge of the sport is unparalleled, whether he is analyzing the most impactful moments and champions in tennis history or recalling statistics. Many of the game's greatest champions have been known to defer to Flink when questioned on a stat in their own personal history.
Flink is the author of two significant historical books - The Greatest Tennis Matches of the 20th Century and The Greatest Tennis Matches of All-Time. Additionally, for 12 years, he authored player portraits for historian John Barrett's annual book, World of Tennis. Flink has also extended into broadcast, including on-air work for ESPN and Madison Square Network and more than 25 years as tennis correspondent for CBS Radio and a statistician for ABC, CBS and NBC.
ABOUT THE INDUCTION PROCESS
Nominees on the ballot for Hall of Fame induction are selected from nominations submitted by the general public and tennis community. The ITHF Enshrinee Nominating Committee, which meets annually in June, then reviews all nominations and determines the ballot. The committee is comprised of 23 individuals from around the world with expertise in various areas of the sport. Individuals can be nominated in three categories - Recent Player, Master Player, and Contributor. There are no nominees in the Master Player Category this year.
The Recent Player Voting Group, which consists of tennis media and Hall of Famers, votes on the Recent Player nominees. The Master Player & Contributor Voting Group, which consists of historians, Hall of Famers, and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, will vote on the Master Player nominees. To be inducted in either category, an affirmative vote of 75% of returned ballots is required. Votes are tallied by an independent accounting firm.
The 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductees will be announced in the first quarter of 2017. The Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony will be in July 2017.