Seles into Court of Champions

Monica Seles, two-time US Open Champion and holder of nine Grand Slam titles, was inducted to the US Open Court of Champions on Sunday prior to the women’s final between Serena Williams and Viktoria Azeranka.

Friend and former Fed Cup teammate Mary Joe Fernandez led the ceremony in Arthur Ashe Stadium, which included a highlight video of Seles’ illustrious career, the unveiling of Seles’ Court of Champions plaque and the presentation of a Court of Champions ring.

“Not only is she one of the great champions,” said former New York Mayor David Dinkins, who introduced Seles and called her a longtime friend and “one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.”

Seles addressed the crowd, which gave her several standing ovations. She discussed her love of tennis and the great moments she had inside Louis Armstrong Stadium, where she won her two titles.

“There are no fans like the New York fans and I got to experience both sides,” she said with a laugh, citing her matches in New York against Jennifer Capriati and Martina Navritalova, who had the crowd behind them, and her matches against Steffi Graf, when the New York crowd was in her corner.

Seles’ plaque can be found in the US Open Court of Champions, a 9,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion bounded by the South Entry gate and the Arthur Ashe Commemorative Garden and Sculpture.

The plaque reads: “Seles was a powerful personality and a dominant force in women’s tennis in the early 1990s. A two-fisted slugger who knocked out opponents with a dynamic mix of talent and tenacity, she won back-to-back singles titles here in 1991 and 1992, and twice more reached the Flushing final – in 1995 and 1996. Overcoming extraordinary adversity with exceptional grace, Seles proved herself a grand champion – and a paragon of the power of perseverance.”

“I love it here at the Open. I still wish I was coming back as a player instead of an honoree,” Seles told the crowd. “I love playing tennis, I love the sport and I know all of you here today feel the same way.”