By the International Tennis Hall of Fame
Wheelchair tennis legends Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands and Rick Draney of the United States join seven accomplished ATP and WTA players on the ballot for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. Draney and Vergeer are nominated for the Hall of Fame’s Wheelchair Tennis Category. In the Player Category, 8-time major doubles champion Daniel Nestor of Canada makes his ballot debut.
The six additional nominees in the Player Category, all returning to the ballot for the Class of 2023, are:
- Cara Black of Zimbabwe, former doubles world No. 1 and an 11-time Grand Slam champion in doubles and mixed doubles
- Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, 2003 French Open champion and former world No. 1
- Ana Ivanović of Serbia, former world No. 1 and 2008 French Open champion
- Carlos Moyá of Spain, winner of the 1998 French Open and former world No. 1
- Flavia Pennetta of Italy, former doubles world No. 1 and 2015 US Open singles champion
- Lisa Raymond of the United States, winner of 11 Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles, and a former doubles world No. 1
Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame represents the ultimate honor in tennis, with a sum of the honoree’s achievements and impact as being amongst the highest in the sport’s history. With the ballot set, the Official Voting Group comprised of tennis journalists, historians, and Hall of Famers, will cast their ballots in the coming months.
The ITHF’s annual Fan Voting for the Player Category returns later this week, giving fans around the globe the opportunity to weigh in on which player nominees are deserving of Hall of Fame induction. From Thursday, Oct. 20 through Sunday, Oct. 30, tennis fans can cast their ballots at vote.tennisfame.com.
The top three candidates in the Fan Vote will receive added percentage points to their vote totals from the Official Voting Group, with first place earning three percentage points, second place two percentage points, and third place one percentage point. To be elected to the Hall of Fame, candidates must receive an affirmative vote of at least 75% or higher from the combined total of the Official Voting Group result, and any bonus percentage points earned in the Fan Vote.
“The nine nominees to the Class of 2023 ballot for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame represent tennis’ greatest achievements, across multiple disciplines of the sport,” said Katrina Adams, chairperson of the ITHF’s Enshrinee Nominating Committee. “As a former player, I appreciate the hard work and professionalism each of these world-class athletes possess. Being recognized as candidates for tennis’ highest honor, induction into the Hall of Fame, is a momentous accolade.”
Results from the Fan Vote will be announced shortly after the voting period. Following the Official Voting Group ballot tabulation in the coming months, the Class of 2023 inductees will be announced early next year with the Induction Ceremony scheduled for July 22, 2023.
Nominees for the Wheelchair Tennis Category are considered for induction every four years. The category recognizes candidates with a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level.
Esther Vergeer is one of the most accomplished wheelchair tennis players in history as a 13-time ITF World Champion and 14-time Wheelchair Masters Singles champion. Her reign as world No. 1 in singles extended for 668 uninterrupted weeks from October 2000 to January 2013. In Paralympic competition for her native Netherlands, Vergeer claimed eight medals (seven gold) in four consecutive Games from 2000 to 2012. Vergeer’s accomplishments at Grand Slams are equally unprecedented, as she won every singles major she entered over a span of 10 years. She finished her career with 21 Grand Slam titles in singles and 23 in doubles. In January of 2013, Vergeer celebrated 10 years unbeaten in singles competition, and retired with a streak of 470 singles wins.
“I am honored to be on the ballot for the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Vergeer. “Being part of the tennis family, and also seeing tennis grow as a sport, makes me very proud. I continue to work hard to help this beautiful sport changes lives in the most positive way. Being recognized amongst my fellow nominees for the Hall of Fame is just another step in continuing to advance our sport’s development.”
Vergeer remains deeply involved in the sport and has served as the Tournament Director for the ABN AMRO Open Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam since 2009. In 2004, she launched The Esther Vergeer Foundation, which continues to support and develop programs for children with disabilities in the Netherlands.
Rick Draney was instrumental in the development of wheelchair tennis’ Quad Division, both in the United States and internationally. In addition to pioneering and professionalizing the Quad Division, Draney is one of his sport’s most accomplished athletes.
Draney began his wheelchair tennis career in 1984, several years before the Quad Division was officially recognized as an Open division alongside the Men’s Open and Women’s Open divisions in the United States. Prior to the advent of the Grand Slam-era in wheelchair tennis, he captured 12 singles titles and six doubles titles at Super Series level, the top tier of wheelchair competition at the time. A three-time ITF year-end world No.1 in quad singles, Draney topped the computerized rankings in the Quad Division, which he helped create, for more than 118 weeks in singles between 1998 and February 2002. He was also world No. 1 in the quad doubles ranking for more than 100 weeks. Draney has instructed at wheelchair tennis camps and clinics around the world, served as Tournament Committee Chairperson of the US Open USTA Wheelchair Tennis Championships for nine years, and continues to devote time to wheelchair tennis.
The Player Category recognizes ATP and WTA players who have achieved a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level. ITHF Enshrinement policies and procedures state that player candidates remain on the ballot for up to three consecutive years, unless voted in.
New to the ITHF ballot for the Class of 2023 is Canada’s Daniel Nestor, a former doubles world No. 1 and winner of 12 major titles in doubles and mixed doubles. Beginning in 2002 with the Australian Open doubles title alongside Mark Knowles, Nestor paired with three different partners to capture eight majors and a career Grand Slam in doubles over a decade. In mixed doubles, he won three titles at the Australian Open with three different partners, and teamed with Kristina Mladenovic to win the 2013 US Open. As one of men’s tennis’ most accomplished doubles players, Nestor secured 91 titles during his career and topped the ATP doubles rankings for over 100 weeks. In 2011, he became the first singles or doubles player on tour to win all nine ATP Masters 1000 titles. Five years later, Nestor achieved another ATP milestone as the first player to win 1,000 career doubles matches.
Nestor joins 2021 Fan Vote winner Cara Black, Ana Ivanovic, Carlos Moya, and Flavia Pennetta, all of whom return to the ballot for the second year, and third-year candidates Juan Carlos Ferrero and Lisa Raymond.
Zimbabwe’s Cara Black, world No. 1 doubles player and predominantly a doubles specialist throughout her WTA career, is a winner of 60 career titles. Black held the No. 1 ranking for 163 weeks, and spent 569 weeks inside the world top-10. She was a 5-time major doubles champion winning three titles at Wimbledon, as well as trophies at the Australian Open and the US Open. Black also won five mixed doubles major titles and is one of three women in tennis history (Open Era, since 1968) to have achieved a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles.
Ana Ivanović of Serbia won the 2008 French Open title, and had two additional appearances in major finals, reaching the French Open final in 2007 and the Australian Open final in 2008. Ivanović was ranked world No. 1 and spent 91 weeks inside the world top-5. In addition to the Roland-Garros trophy, Ivanović won 14 career titles, including 3 WTA Premier Mandatory titles. She went on to represent Serbia in Billie Jean King Cup (formerly Fed Cup) competition for nine years, including a run into the finals in 2012. Ivanović is the first Serbian to be nominated for the Hall of Fame.
Carlos Moyá, of Spain is a former world No. 1, and spent more than 200 weeks inside the world top-10. Moyá was the French Open Champion in 1998, and a finalist at the Australian Open in 1997. Additionally, Moyá won 20 career titles, including three Masters 1000-level events. He was a member of the victorious 2004 Spanish Davis Cup team. Since 2016, Moya has coached fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal.
Italy’s Flavia Pennetta claimed the US Open trophy in 2015 and won an additional 10 singles titles in her career, reaching a career high of world No. 6. Additionally, Pennetta had an accomplished doubles career, achieving the world No. 1 ranking and winning a major doubles title at the Australian Open. Pennetta was a staple of the Italian Billie Jean King Cup team (formerly Fed Cup team) for more than a decade and was integral in capturing four championship titles. She is the first Italian woman to be nominated for the Hall of Fame.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, also of Spain, reached his first major final at Roland-Garros in 2002, upsetting then world No. 4 Andre Agassi and No. 2 Marat Safin en route. Ferrero returned to the final one year later, winning the 2003 Roland-Garros title. Later that year, Ferrero reached the final of the US Open. His success in 2003 propelled him to the world No. 1 ranking, and he spent 139 weeks inside the world top-5. In 2000, Ferrero became a hero of the first-ever Spanish Davis Cup championship team when he won the final point in Barcelona against Australia. As a coach, Ferrero has overseen the rise of Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest-ever ATP World No. 1 and reigning US Open men’s singles champion.
American Lisa Raymond won 11 major titles with six different partners over the course of her career. Raymond captured six major titles in women’s doubles, where she has a career Grand Slam, and five in mixed doubles. She also earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics with her mixed doubles partner, Mike Bryan, and was a member of a championship United States Billie Jean King Cup team (formerly Fed Cup). Raymond was ranked world No. 1 in doubles for 137 weeks and reached a career high of world No. 15 in singles. She won 79 career doubles titles. Raymond’s path to the WTA Tour came after great success at the collegiate level. As a member of the University of Florida women’s tennis team, Raymond won the NCAA singles title twice and led the team to their first national championship.
For additional information on the Class of 2023 Fan Vote and the ITHF’s induction process, visit tennisfame.com.