ITHF Class of 2017 announced
January 24, 2017
Former world No. 1’s Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick have been elected to receive the highest honor in tennis – induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Joining them in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, a 4-time Paralympic medalist in wheelchair tennis, being honored for her remarkable career. Additionally, two individuals will be inducted in the Contributor Category. Steve Flink, a distinguished tennis historian and journalist has been elected for induction. Vic Braden, a groundbreaking tennis instructor who was among the first to apply sports science to his instructional tactics will be inducted posthumously.
Andy Roddick, Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, and Steve Flink will take part in a special ceremony on court at the Australian Open on Tuesday evening to celebrate their induction for the very first time.
More than 20 Hall of Fame tennis legends will gather on court at Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open to officially welcome the Class of 2017. Among those slated to participate are Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Ken Rosewall, Pat Rafter, Stan Smith, Lindsay Davenport, John McEnore, and many more.
Of the honor, Roddick stated, “It’s really special. I love this sport and I love being part of it. I’m moved to know that my presence in the sport will be forever part of tennis history, and I am just incredibly honored to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. I look forward to the induction ceremony in Newport in July.”
Clijsters was unable to travel to the festivities in Melbourne, as she recently gave birth to her third child. However, the 2011 Australian Open champion will be recognized via video sent to the arena. Of the induction honor, she stated, “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.”
International Tennis Hall of Fame President and 1987 Hall of Famer Stan Smith stated, “It’s a real pleasure to welcome these five remarkable individuals into the Hall of Fame. Kim, Andy, and Monique compiled outstanding careers, winning the game’s biggest titles and ascending to the world No. 1 ranking. Steve’s lifelong dedication to chronicling the sport’s happenings and history has engaged and educated fans around the world. And, of course, we remember Vic Braden, who transformed how tennis is taught and how athletes are developed. I’m very pleased to congratulate the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2017 and we look forward to celebrating them in Newport in July, and forever as Hall of Famers.”
The Class of 2017 will be officially inducted on July 22, during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Tickets for the Induction Ceremony will go on sale in early February. In addition, the class will be celebrated in a tribute exhibit opening in June in the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which will be displayed for one year.
One of six women in tennis history to simultaneously top the world rankings in singles and doubles, Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, was the world No. 1 player for 19 weeks and was ranked within the world top-5 for 250 weeks during her career. 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 was also the 2011 Australian Open champion. Clijsters won two major doubles titles, capturing both the French Open and Wimbledon titles 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. She 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. Two years later, in 2011, she once again reached the world No. 1 ranking, five years after she had last been there.
Since retirement, Clijsters, now a mother of three, has been focused on her family. She remains engaged in tennis through Kim Clijsters Academy in Belgium, where many juniors train and through competing in Legends events at the Grand Slams.
Andy Roddick, 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.
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 in 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-van den Bosch, 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-van den Bosch was a competitive junior tennis player in The Netherlands, prior to her illness. She was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 and, as a result, was left paralyzed from the waist down. As she recovered, Kalkman-van den Bosch revised her dreams to be fitting of her life as a wheelchair user.
Kalkman-van den Bosch first embraced table tennis, because wheelchair tennis was still in its early years of development and had not been established in Europe. In 1984 she became a Paralympic Gold medalist in table tennis, and then switched her focus to wheelchair tennis in 1986. From 1992 to 1996, Kalkman-van den Bosch won four Paralympic medals in wheelchair tennis, three of them being Gold medals. She is the first and only female athlete to win Paralympic Gold medals in two different individual sports (tennis and table tennis).
In addition to her success in the Paralympics, Kalkman-van den Bosch was the ITF Wheelchair Tennis World Champion four times (1992 – 1995) and she was an 8-time singles champion in Super Series events. She was also the winner of the women’s title at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in 1994 and 1995, the first two years that the ITF’s year-end wheelchair singles championship was staged. Kalkman-van den Bosch’s career record of 151-25 singles record and her 53-7 doubles record puts her as one of the winningest wheelchair players of her era.
Upon learning of her Hall of Fame induction, Kalkman-van den Bosch stated, “It’s such a great honor. To have wheelchair tennis celebrated on such a global stage is tremendous, and for my name and my career to be part of that celebration and to be forever remembered as part of tennis history is just a great, great honor.
She continued, “I think the work that the Hall of Fame does, along with the ITF, to celebrate wheelchair tennis is incredibly important. When a person is first injured in a life-changing manner, such as paralysis, there are not obvious role models for them to admire or emulate. By celebrating and promoting wheelchair tennis through the Hall of Fame, we are offering encouragement for recently injured people. It’s important for these people to understand what can be possible for them in their new situations, and I’m so grateful to be part of this.”
Kalkman-van den Bosch 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 Participation at Welzorg, the largest supplier of equipment for people with disabilities in the Netherlands. Kalkman-van den Bosch is the founder of the Going4Golf Foundation, which promotes and provides opportunities for anyone with a disability to get involved with golf, with the intention of putting a positive swing in their lives.
The tennis community worldwide is defined not only by the great champions and athletes on court each week, but also by the thousands of passionate tennis industry professionals who support the growth of the game. The Contributor Category honors 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. There are two contributor inductees this year.
A lifelong tennis enthusiast, Steve Flink of New York, developed his passion for the sport into a career as one of tennis’ preeminent historians and journalists globally. 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 ten years, he has been lead columnist for tennischannel.com.
Flink’s extraordinary knowledge of the sport is highly regarded around the globe, 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 and Hall of Famer John Barrett’s annual book, World of Tennis. Flink has also extended his work into broadcast, including on-air work for ESPN and MSG Network. He also has spent more than 25 years as tennis correspondent for CBS Radio and as a statistician for ABC, CBS, and NBC.
“I have been so fortunate to have built an entire career around something I love so deeply. It has been my honor to transcribe to the world through my work the great moments and the remarkable personalities of tennis,” said Flink. “Across all these years, I never could have imagined that I would someday be recognized as a Hall of Famer and as a part of this sport’s history. I am so very humbled and honored to be recognized.”
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 will be inducted posthumously. He passed away in 2014 at age 85.
Nominees 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, 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. For additional information, please visit tennisfame.com