The International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was officially announced yesterday, and who better to welcome the new inductees into the elite club of champions, than those who have paved the way before them. More than 20 Hall of Famers gathered on court at Rod Laver Arena to officially welcome the Class of 2017 before a crowd of Aussie tennis fans.
"The ITHF is charged with preserving and promoting the history of the sport and celebrating tennis' greatest champions - this group that we have right behind me. We are very fortunate to look at this group and understand that these individuals have made history that we all relish. They've inspired the generations that followed them," remarked ITHF CEO Todd Martin.
"I think any tennis player who lands here in Australia feels the gravity of what has been built here by these great champions.
"It's hard to express in words what this means to me. I'm not like these players behind me. I wasn't a shoe in for the Hall of Fame. So like pretty much every day of my career I feel pretty lucky to be here on this court right now," noted 2017 inductee Andy Roddick.
Although she was unable to attend in person, Kim Clijsters sent along a message to her fans in Melbourne via video, stating, "I feel very, very honored to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. It is a huge honor to be amongst a list of so many great tennis players who I admired when I was growing up, and some great players who I played with in my tennis career as well.”
Above: Margaret Court, Frank Sedgman, Stan Smith, Ken Rosewall, Roy Emerson, Fred Stolle, Neale Fraser, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Lindsay Davenport, Chris Evert, Rod Laver, Frew McMillan, Lesley Turner Bowrey, Boris Becker, Michael Chang, Jim Courier, Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Steve Flink, Brian Tobin, Cliff Drysdale, Todd Woodbridge, Rosie Casals, and in front, Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, and Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch.