Hall of Fame Announces Kafelnikov As 2019 Inductee
Former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam singles titlist Yevgeny Kafelnikov will soon be able to call himself a “Hall of Famer”.
The Russian, who retired in 2003, will be inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame this July in Newport. Kafelnikov, who was Russia’s first Grand Slam singles champion, said, “I’m very honoured to become a Hall of Famer and to represent Russia among tennis’ greatest champions.”
The Sochi native captured his first major singles title in 1996 at Roland Garros. That same event, he partnered with Daniel Vacek to win the doubles title. No man since has won the singles and doubles titles at the same major.
Kafelnikov was also the singles champion at the 1999 Australian Open, and he won four Grand Slam doubles titles – three at Roland Garros and one at the US Open. In all, Kafelnikov won 26 tour-level singles titles and 27 tour-level doubles titles.
The Russian complemented his No. 1 ATP Ranking in singles with a doubles career-high of No. 4. Kafelnikov is also an Olympic gold medalist, having won at the 2000 Games in Sydney, and he was integral to Russia’s 2002 Davis Cup title.
He will be inducted alongside former WTA greats Li Na of China and France’s Mary Pierce. The three are being inducted in the Player Category. This is not a year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame’s other two categories – Contributor and Wheelchair.
The three former players will join an elite group of just over 250 individuals hailing from 23 nations who have received the honour, which recognizes their career as being among the most accomplished and impactful in the history of tennis.
“It’s a pleasure to congratulate Li Na, Mary Pierce, and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and to welcome them to the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” stated Hall of Fame President Stan Smith. “They are three incredibly hard-working athletes who set and achieved goals at tennis’ highest levels. This is a well-deserved honour, and we look forward to celebrating them as Hall of Famers in Newport in July.”
Li Na, Pierce, and Kafelnikov will be officially inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on 20 July, during Hall of Fame Weekend in Newport, Rhode Island. Ticket packages for the weekend are on sale now on tennisfame.com/enshrinement with individual Induction Ceremony tickets going on sale on 1 February.
Additionally, the Class of 2019 will be celebrated in a tribute exhibit in the museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, chronicling their lives and careers, which will open in June and be displayed for one year.