Hingis, Long among five elected to Hall of Fame
NEWPORT, Rhode Island (AFP) –
Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis and Australian legend Thelma Coyne Long were among five people named Monday as 2013 inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Two ATP co-founders, Americans Cliff Drysdale and Charlie Pasarell, and Romanian star Ion Tiriac, were also elected to the sporting shrine by a selection panel. A person needs 75 percent support from the group for election.
All five will be enshrined on July 13 during ceremonies at the ATP Hall of Fame Championships grass-court event, joining 224 previous honorees from 19 nations.
“Being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor,” Hingis said. “It is truly a privilege to be part of such an exclusive group of tennis icons.”
Retired Swiss star Hingis, 32, topped the rankings for 209 weeks and won 43 career WTA titles and five Grand Slam singles crowns, including Wimbledon, US and Australian Open titles in 1997 and the 1998 and 1999 Australian Opens.
Hingis, who went 548-133 in WTA singles matches, also won nine Grand Slam women’s doubles titles and one mixed doubles title. She retired in 2003 at age 22 due to injury, made a comeback in 2006 and won three titles before retiring for good in 2007.
She became the youngest Grand Slam champion at 15 years and nine months when she joined Helena Sukova to win the 1996 Wimbledon women’s doubles crown and the youngest World No. 1 in 1997 at 16 years, six months and one day.
Only Hingis, Martina Navratilova, Kim Clijsters, Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Lindsay Davenport have topped the WTA singles and doubles rankings at the same time.
“Martina Hingis is undoubtedly one of the world’s elite tennis players and we’re glad to pay tribute to her among the legends of the sport,” Hall of Fame President Stan Smith said.
Long, 94, played from 1935 to 1958. She won the 1952 and 1954 Australian Open women’s singles titles and was a runner-up in the event four other times. In 1952 she also won women’s and mixed doubles titles at the Australian event.
During World War II, Long became a captain in the Australian Women’s Army Service and was awarded the Australian War Medal and Australian Service Medal.
“During the Australian Open, we had the opportunity to notify Thelma Coyne Long of the good news of her enshrinement and she was delighted,” Smith said.
South African-born Drysdale, 71, played in the 1960s and 1970s and won 35 career singles titles. After helping form the ATP and serving as its first president, he has worked as a tennis commentator for ESPN.
Puerto Rican-born Pasarell, 69, is the past director and managing partner of the ATP and WTA event in Indian Wells, California. He won 18 singles titles and helped the US win the Davis Cup in 1968 before becoming a tennis executive.
Tiriac, 73, paired with countryman Ilie Nastase to form a formidable 1970s doubles partnership but as more recently served roles ranging from coach to player management to tournament promoter.