NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND, USA -Tony Trabert, President of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, today announced the names of the five ballot nominees for possible Hall of Fame induction in July 2009. Nine-time Grand Slam Singles Champion and former World No. 1 Monica Seles heads the 2009 ballot nominations. Joining her on the ballot in the Master Player category is Andres Gimeno. He was one of Spain’s most prominent tennis players of the 1960s, and who remains Roland Garros’ oldest singles champion, winning the coveted clay court title in 1972.
“On behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, I am honored to announce this year’s ballot,” said Tony Trabert, ITHF President and 1970 Hall of Famer. “Monica and Andres both had brilliant careers in tennis, while Donald, Dr. Johnson and Eiichi made important and historic contributions that have significantly impacted and shaped our sport.”
Voting for the 2009 ballot will take place over the next several months leading to the announcement of the official 2009 induction class in January. The Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, July 11 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.
Recent Player Nominees (1) Eligibility criteria for the Recent Player category: Active as competitors in the sport within the last 20 years prior to consideration; not a significant factor on the ATP or WTA tour within five years prior to induction; a distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.
Monica Seles, now 34, held the World No. 1 ranking for 178 weeks (non-consecutive) and captured nine Grand Slam singles titles – four Australian (1991-1993, 1996), three at Roland Garros (1990-1992) and two US Opens (1991-1992). Her win-loss record at the Grand Slams was a staggering 43-4 at the Australian, 54-8 at Roland Garros, 30-9 at Wimbledon and 53-10 at the US Open. In a career spanning 15 years, she captured 53 singles titles and six doubles titles and collected well over $14 million in prize money. She won three consecutive year-end WTA Championships (1990-1992) and finished as the world’s No. 1 ranked player in both 1991 and 1992.
A natural lefty, wielding double-handed forehands and backhands, she was a determined competitor. Her footwork was impeccable, her groundstrokes powerful and aggressive, and she constantly attacked her opponents with an arsenal of remarkable weapons. Seles was also known for her “ball-impacting shriek”, the grunt heard across the globe.
At age 19, Seles had already won eight of her nine singles slams and was at the top of her game. Then in April 1993, during a changeover of her quarterfinal match against Magdalena Maleeva in Hamburg, a man came out of nowhere, and stabbed her in the back, just below her left shoulder blade. The horror of this event sent shockwaves through the tennis community, and 27 months would pass before Seles played competitively again. When she returned to the courts, she was granted a co-No. 1 ranking (shared with Steffi Graf) and won her comeback event at the Canadian Open, reached the US Open final, and followed up with her ninth Grand Slam singles championship at the Australian Open (1996).
Born December 2, 1973 in Novi Sad, in what was then known as Yugoslavia, she moved with her family to the United States in 1986 at the age of 12 to train at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. On March 16, 1994, she became a U.S. citizen. Seles would play on the United States Fed Cup team for five years (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002) posting a career 15-2 singles record and a 2-0 doubles record while helping the Americans capture the Cup in 1996, 1999 and 2000.
Seles remains the youngest champion in history to win at Roland Garros (16 years, 6 months) and was the youngest winner of the Tour Championships (16 years, 11 months) beating Gabriela Sabatini in the first women’s match to extend to five sets since the 1901 U.S. National final. In addition, Seles won the Olympic bronze medal in 2000. Throughout her career, Seles won numerous awards, multiple Player and Athlete of the Year awards, and humanitarian awards. She is an Ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, and also has a monthly spot on CBS This Morning, where she talks about healthy living and lifestyle.
A panel of International Tennis Media will vote on the Recent Player nominees. A 75% favorable vote is required for induction. The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Fame inductees and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, vote on the Master Player and Contributor nominees. To be inducted as a Master Player or a Contributor, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.
The date for the Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony is slated for Saturday, July 11th, in conjunction with the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (July 6-12) in Newport, Rhode Island. The International Tennis Hall of Fame has inducted 207 people representing 18 countries since its establishment in 1954. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of tennis and its champions. For more information on the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum call 401-849-3990 or visit online at www.tennisfame.com.