China’s Li Na, a two-time Grand Slam champion and former world number two, won a fan vote announced Tuesday, boosting her chances of joining the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
French two-time Grand Slam singles winner Mary Pierce and former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia also enhanced their chances of being inducted into the sporting honor roll next year.
The Hall of Fame's first-ever fan vote, which drew ballots from 130 nations during a six-week submission period, will be considered when deciding among eight nominees on the ballot for induction into the 2019 class.
Inductees will be announced at the Australian Open on January 22 with enshrinement on July 20 at the ATP Hall of Fame tournament in Newport, Rhode Island.
Vote totals were not revealed but Li won the balloting with Ivanisevic second and Pierce third.
"It's a great honor to be nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame and I’m so grateful for the fan support in this process," Li said in a statement from the Hall.
"My fans were such a huge part of what made my playing career special for me and it's really wonderful to have this opportunity to continue that relationship with them today."
Candidates must receive 75 percent support from the Hall voting group of journalists, historians and Hall of Famers plus fan vote bonus points.
Li will see a three percent bonus to her voting total while Ivanisevic gets a two percent boost and Pierce a one percent bump to her support.
"I'm honored to be nominated for this great accolade," Li said. "I look forward to hearing the Hall of Fame voting results in January."
Li, who retired in 2014, won the 2011 French Open and 2014 Australian Open singles titles while Ivanisevic won his only Grand Slam title in 2001 at Wimbledon. Pierce captured the 1995 Australian Open and 2000 French Open crowns.
Others being considered for induction next year include former world doubles number one Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden, two-time French Open champion Sergi Bruguera of Spain, 1996 French Open and 1999 Australian Open winner Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, 1994 Wimbledon winner Conchita Martinez of Spain and 1995 French Open champion Thomas Muster of Austria.
Since the Hall opened in 1954, 254 people from 23 nations have been inducted.*AFP
back to top