The following was written and submitted by the International Tennis Hall Of Fame
Cara Black, a former WTA Tour doubles specialist who held the world No. 1 doubles ranking for 163 weeks, has finished in first place in the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 Fan Vote. Italian tennis great Flavia Pennetta finished in second place, and Ana Ivanović, of Serbia, finished in third place.
Thousands of tennis fans from a record 178 nations took part in the vote, voicing their feedback for which candidates they believe are deserving of tennis’ ultimate honor – induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The Fan Vote is one component of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s multi-faceted election process. In addition to the Fan Vote, an Official Voting Group comprised of tennis journalists, historians, and Hall of Famers, will also vote on the 2022 ballot.
As the first-place finisher in the ITHF Fan Vote, Black will receive three bonus percentage points on her results from the Official Voting Group, while Pennetta will receive two bonus percentage points, and Ivanović will receive one bonus percentage point.
To be elected into the Hall of Fame, a candidate must receive an affirmative vote of 75% or higher on the combined results of the Official Voting Group and any bonus percentage points earned in the Fan Vote. In addition to Black, Pennetta, and Ivanović, American Lisa Raymond and Spaniards Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moyá of Spain are also on the ballot for Class of 2022 induction.
Official Voting Group voting takes place in the month ahead. Once the Official Voting Group results and Fan Vote bonuses are compiled, the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2022 will be announced early next year.
Of her first-place finish, Black commented, “I’m incredibly humbled, honored, and appreciative for the support I’ve received in the Fan Vote. It’s amazing to receive this feedback from tennis fans right around the world, and I’m particularly grateful for the support I’ve felt from Zimbabwe. Being considered for the International Tennis Hall of Fame is not something you ever think about when you are competing. But to look back now and to know that what I accomplished in my career is now being acknowledged in this way, it’s just an amazing honor.”
Todd Martin, International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO, said, “A big part of our decision to introduce Fan Voting in 2018 was to create a means of engaging the global tennis community in the sport’s history and its ultimate honor, and this year we really saw that goal come to fruition. The 2022 Hall of Fame ballot highlights the historic careers of six unique individuals from five nations. Discerning fans from all over the world took interest in the candidates’ careers and stories, and we saw a record turnout in terms of the number of countries that participated in the Fan Vote this year. The International Tennis Hall of Fame is committed to serving that global audience. We’re grateful to the many fans who participated.”
Cara Black hails from Harare, Zimbabwe where she learned to play tennis on the grass courts her father built at their home. She is the first Zimbabwean and the first African-born woman to be nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. To date, there is just one other Player Category inductee from the African continent in the Hall of Fame – Frew McMillan of South Africa, a 5-time major champion in doubles.
From early training on the home courts to the global tennis tour, Black went on to become one of the sport’s most dominant doubles players. Her 163 weeks at doubles No. 1 is third all-time, behind Martina Navratilova and Liezel Huber. Black won 60 career doubles titles, including three titles at Wimbledon, as well as trophies at the Australian Open and the US Open. Cara also won five mixed doubles major titles and is one of three women in tennis history (Open Era, since 1968) to have a achieved a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles.
Being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the Player Category recognizes an athlete’s achievements as being among the all-time best in the history of the sport. To date, the honor has been presented to just 262 tennis greats from 27 nations around the world, including legends like Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Pete Sampras, Björn Borg, Kim Clijsters, and Martina Hingis, among others.