International Tennis Hall of Fame
Photo courtesy of International Tennis Hall of Fame

 Following a two-week vote with tens of thousands fans from around the globe weighing in, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has announced the five winning nominees from the Iconic Moments in Tennis History fan voting campaign. The winners in each of the five categories voted upon will be featured in a new exhibition in the ITHF Museum for fans to experience later this month, and online at tennisfame.com/iconic-moments.

The first annual Iconic Moments campaign gave fans the opportunity to revisit, debate and weigh in on some of the sport’s most impactful moments, with individuals from more than 100 nations participating. Fans were able to submit their ballots for their choices among eight nominees in each category.

The Iconic Moments in Tennis History winners are:

Most Epic Rivalry category winner: Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer vs. Novak Djokovic

For nearly 20 years, tennis fans have been captivated by the rivalry between the three most successful players in the history of the ATP Tour by Grand Slam title count. In a category that featured some of tennis’ most impactful matchups, the “Big Three” stood apart for fans who participated in the voting campaign. Each of the three has competed against the other two at least 40 times, with the trio combining to win 61 of the past 76 Grand Slams. Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic stood tied at 20 Grand Slam titles apiece until January, when Nadal claimed his 21st major trophy at the 2022 Australian Open.

Best Cinderella Story category winner: Emma Raducanu, 2021 US Open

Despite Emma Raducanu reaching the last 16 at Wimbledon just weeks prior, no tennis fan could have predicted her stunning triumph at the 2021 US Open. Sitting at No. 150 in the world at the beginning of qualifying, she rattled off nine straight victories in Flushing Meadows without dropping a set, advancing to the final. Raducanu’s championship matchup with Leylah Fernandez marked the first all-teen women’s final at the US Open since 1999. With her 6-3, 6-4 victory, Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era, and the first British woman to win a major since 1977.

Best Comeback Within a Match category winner: Rafael Nadal d. Daniil Medvedev, 2022 Australian Open Final

At age 35 and competing at his first Grand Slam in nearly eight months, Rafael Nadal engineered the greatest match comeback of his storied career on the grandest of stages. Having advanced to the final in Melbourne as the No. 6 seed, Nadal found himself down two sets to none to No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev before turning the match on its heels and prevailing 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. The victory marked Nadal’s 21st career Grand Slam title, breaking the three-way tie at 20 he had previously held with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, and his second Australian Open title.

Most Iconic Celebration category winner: Guga Kuerten draws a heart in clay at 2001 Roland-Garros

Known for wearing his heart on his sleeve while on court, Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten left a lasting impression on the clay of Roland-Garros during his run to the title in 2001. Already a two-time champion and the favorite heading into the tournament that year, Kuerten found himself in a bind against qualifier Michael Russell in the fourth round. After surviving match point and prevailing 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 6-1, Kuerten expressed his love and gratefulness for the fans by drawing a heart in the clay with his racquet.

Best Moment of National Pride category winner: Andy Murray, 2013 Wimbledon

In capturing the 2013 Wimbledon title, Andy Murray ended one of tennis’ longest droughts, becoming the first British man to win his home major since Fred Perry in 1936. He achieved one of the nation’s sport pinnacles in front of a U.K. television audience of 17.3 million and 15,000 elated fans at Centre Court, defeating top seed Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Murray’s victory and final score of 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 would forever be “etched into the national psyche,” according to The Guardian.

The nominees in the Iconic Moments in Tennis History campaign were decided upon by a panelists of tennis experts, journalists and historians, and encompassed over seven decades of tennis history. As part of the initiative, thousands of fans around the United States entered to win the 2022 Enshrinement Weekend sweepstakes. Two fans have been selected as winners, and will travel to Newport, R.I. this July 15-17 and receive exclusive access to Lleyton Hewitt’s induction celebrations and the Infosys Hall of Fame Open.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.

He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

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