|Four tennis legends have been named as candidates on the ballot for the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. The candidates are:|
Sweden’s Jonas Björkman, winner of nine major doubles titles & former doubles world No. 1
Back-to-back Roland-Garros champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain
2001 Wimbledon Champion and former world No. 2 Goran Ivanišević of Croatia
1994 Wimbledon Champion Conchita Martínez of Spain, a three-time Olympic medalist and member of five championship Fed Cup teams
Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame is the ultimate honor in tennis, representing the sum of an athlete’s achievements as being among the best of the best in the sport.
“Throughout their careers, Conchita Martínez, Sergi Bruguera, Jonas Björkman, and Goran Ivanišević each consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence. As a result, they achieved success at tennis’ highest levels as Grand Slam champions, top-ranked ATP and WTA competitors, Olympic medalists, and Davis and Fed Cup champions. They’ve represented their nations and the sport very well, and it is a pleasure to announce their nominations to receive tennis’ ultimate honor, induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Hall of Fame President Stan Smith.
Now that the ballot has been set for the Class of 2020, it will go before the ITHF Player Voting Group, which is comprised of tennis media, historians, and Hall of Famers. Additionally, tennis fans across the globe are encouraged to voice their opinions about who is deserving of Hall of Fame induction by taking part in the Fan Vote. Fan Voting will open on Monday, August 26 at vote.tennisfame.com, and run through September 29.
The top three vote getters in the Fan Vote will earn bonus percentage points added to their result from the ITHF Player Voting Group. First place will receive 3 bonus percentage points, second place will receive 2, and third place will receive a bonus of 1 percentage point. To be elected into the Hall of Fame, a candidate must receive an affirmative vote of 75% or more from the Player Voting Group result or a combined total of 75% or more from the Player Voting Group result and any bonus percentage points they earn through the Fan Vote.
“Tennis fans around the globe responded to last year’s invitation to be part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame enshrinement process, with votes coming in from 148 nations,” said International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin. “Our intent behind Fan Voting is to offer a unique way for tennis fans to engage with the sport’s history and its most inspiring players. We’re glad to make Fan Voting a regular part of the enshrinement process and encourage fans to make their voices and opinions heard by voting in the month ahead.”
The results of Fan Voting will be announced at the conclusion of the voting period in late September. The overall results and the complete Induction Class of 2020 will be announced in January. The 2020 Induction Ceremony will be hosted on July 18, 2020 in Newport, RI.
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. Since its inception in 1954, the honor of Hall of Fame Induction has been granted to 257 great champions and contributors to the sport from 24 different nations.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATES
The four candidates on the 2020 ballot are all nominated in the Player Category, and each is in the second year of a three-year possible candidacy. Once nominated, a player candidate remains on the ballot for up to three consecutive years, unless voted in, per the ITHF Enshrinement Policies and Procedures.
This is not an induction year for the Wheelchair Tennis Category or the Contributor Category, which honors individuals who have made a transcendent impact on the advancement of the sport. Both are featured every four years, with the Contributor Category next coming up in 2021 and Wheelchair Tennis in 2023.
Former world No. 1 doubles player Jonas Björkman of Sweden won nine major titles and achieved a doubles career Grand Slam. He was twice a champion at the ATP Tour Year-End Championships, and captured 54 doubles titles in all. In singles, Björkman reached a career high of world No. 4 and was a semifinalist at both the US Open and Wimbledon. A dedicated team player, Björkman played a major role on three Swedish Davis Cup championship squads.
Spanish clay court great Sergi Bruguera accomplished a massive feat when he won back-to-back titles at Roland-Garros in 1993 and 1994. His first title came against two-time defending champion Jim Courier, after Bruguera came back from being down 2-0 in the fifth set. Bruguera reached a career high ranking of world No. 3 and won 14 titles in all. He was a silver medalist at the 1996 Olympics.
Croatia’s Goran Ivanišević’s serve-and-volley style of play led him to great success on the grass courts of Wimbledon where he was a quarterfinalist once, semifinalist twice, and finalist three times, before winning the title in 2001. That year, ranked world No. 125, the big-serving lefty was granted a wildcard into the tournament. In a magical run to the trophy he knocked out three players who were former or future world No. 1s en route to a five-set battle with Patrick Rafter in the final. Ivanišević is a two-time Olympic medalist, having won a singles bronze and doubles bronze, both in 1992.
In her 15-year career on the WTA Tour, Conchita Martínez won 33 singles titles and 13 doubles titles. She was the 1994 Wimbledon champion, defeating nine-time champion Martina Navratilova in the final. She was also a finalist at the Australian Open and French Open. Martínez reached a career high of world No. 2 and spent 190 weeks ranked inside the world top 5. The Spanish great represented her country with much dedication and success. She was a key member of five championship Fed Cup teams and a three-time Olympic medalist in doubles.