Newport, RI – Following a six-week voting period which drew in votes from more than 130 countries, the results are in from the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s first-ever Fan Vote for Hall of Fame induction.
Of the eight nominated candidates, Chinese tennis great and two-time Grand Slam tournament champion Li Na finished in first place, garnering the highest number of fan votes; Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia finished in second place; and Mary Pierce of France, who won singles titles at the Australian Open and Roland-Garros, finished in third place.
This year marks the first time in the organization’s history that Hall of Fame induction will be determined by a combination of the results from the Official Voting Group, which is comprised of journalists, historians, and Hall of Famers, and bonus points earned through the Fan Vote.
To be elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame a candidate must receive 75% or more affirmative votes from the combined results of the Official Voting Group and Fan Vote bonuses.
As the top-three vote recipients in the Fan Vote, Li Na, Ivanisevic, and Pierce will receive bonus points added onto their Official Voting Group results. For first place, Li Na will receive a 3% bonus, Ivanisevic will receive a 2% bonus, and Pierce will receive a 1% bonus.
In addition to Li Na, Ivanisevic, and Pierce, there are five other candidates also being considered for Class of 2019 induction. They are Jonas Björkman, Sergi Bruguera, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Conchita Martínez, and Thomas Muster.
The Class of 2019 will be officially announced on January 22 at the Australian Open. The Induction Ceremony will be held on July 20 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.
“It is a great honor to be nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame and I’m so grateful for the fan support in this process. My fans were such a huge part of what made my playing career special for me, and it’s really wonderful to have this opportunity to continue that relationship with them today,” said Li Na, who retired in 2014 and was the champion at the 2011 French Open and 2014 Australian Open. “I am honored to be nominated for this great accolade in tennis, and I look forward to hearing the Hall of Fame voting results in January.”
The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s first ever Fan Voting program launched in late August during the US Open. Since that time, fans from around the world have shown their support for the candidates by voting online and at kiosks at tennis tournaments.
“Fan Voting was an exciting new initiative for the International Tennis Hall of Fame this year. In today’s world of 24/7 connectivity, sports fans are more knowledgeable and connected to the athletes and events than ever before. Hall of Fame Fan Voting was an opportunity to continue to foster that connection between tennis greats and their fans beyond the athlete’s playing days, and to highlight tennis history in a way which fans could engage with,” commented Todd Martin, International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO.
Martin stated, “We know the reality is that many fans will not be able to get to Newport to celebrate the players who become Hall of Famers, but through Fan Voting, we hope they will be active participants in celebrating the greats who have made history in our sport. In the first year of Fan Voting, we saw quite clearly how dedicated and engaged the fans are in supporting the tennis players they admire. We look forward to building on this program in future years and continuing to develop meaningful initiatives to engage tennis fans in the sport’s history.”
Since the Hall of Fame’s inception in 1954, there have been 254 Hall of Famers inducted from 23 nations around the world. To learn more about the International Tennis Hall of Fame, visit tennisfame.com/vote.