What’s the story?
Former World No. 1s Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters are among the first inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2017. Last year saw two other former World No. 1s, Justine Henin and Marat Safin, being inducted into the Hall of Fame and the induction of Clijsters and Roddick takes the count to 202 players, which include the likes of Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Margaret Court, and Steffi Graf.
In a statement released by the Hall of Fame, Clijsters expressed her delight stating, “It is a huge honour to be amongst a list of so many great tennis players whom I admired when I was growing up, and some great players whom I played with in my tennis career as well.”
Roddick, meanwhile said: “I love this sport and I love being part of it. I’m moved to know that my presence in the sport will be forever a part of tennis history.”
In case you didn’t know...
Both Roddick and Clijsters are two of the finest players of their generation and have reached the pinnacle of the sport. The Belgian turned professional in 1997 aged just 14 and went on to win a total of four Grand Slam titles; three of which came after she returned to the sport after a two-year voluntary retirement between 2007 and 2009.
She was the world’s top-ranked player for a total of 20 weeks during her career. Throughout her career, she shared a fierce rivalry with fellow Belgian Justine Henin, leading their head to head 13-12 although Henin won all their three Grand Slam final meetings.
Roddick, on the other hand, turned professional in 2000 and won only one Grand Slam at the 2003 US Open, following which he became the World No. 1 before relinquishing it to Roger Federer after 13 weeks at the top. The American had a long-standing rivalry with Federer and even though the Swiss led their head-to-head record 21-3, the duo had some fiercely contested matches; the most notable of them being the 2009 Wimbledon final which lasted 4 hours and 17 minutes.
Clijsters and Roddick both retired from the sport following the 2012 US Open.
The heart of the matter
On Monday, the International Tennis Hall of Fame released a statement that Roddick and Clijsters would be inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside wheelchair player Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, tennis historian Steve Flink, and late instructor Vic Braden.
The full class of 2017 will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame located in Newport, Rhode Island on 22nd July.
For any player, being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a great achievement in itself and both Roddick and Clijsters are great tennis players in their own right. So, it is an incredible honour for them to be included in that elite list.
The American is currently focussing on his foundation, which helps children pursue their passion and grow as individuals. Clijsters, meanwhile, is an ambassador for SOS Children’s Villages located in Belgium.
Both Roddick and Clijsters have been exceptional players and have produced strings of sensational performances throughout their respective careers, so their induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame should not come as a surprise, as they absolutely deserve this recognition.
Published 24 Jan 2017, 15:38 IST