Four former ATP Tour stars will be on the ballot for the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. Former singles World No. 1s Lleyton Hewitt and Juan Carlos Ferrero are joined by former doubles World No. 1 Jonas Bjorkman and two-time Roland Garros champion Sergi Bruguera.
The youngest player to ever claim the No. 1 spot in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Australia’s Hewitt did so at just 20 years of age in 2001. Hewitt won his second major title in 2002, when he was victorious at Wimbledon. The 5’10” right-hander was also a finalist at the Australian Open in 2005.
Hewitt maintained a Top 10 position for more than five years and won 30 tour-level singles titles. The Aussie claimed two Davis Cup trophies for Australia in 1999 and 2003.
“I’m incredibly honoured and grateful to receive this nomination,” said Hewitt. “I had so many great Australians to look up to while I was coming up in the sport. To know that my career is up for consideration to be recognised alongside the likes of Hall of Famer’s Tony Roche, John Newcombe, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall and so many other greats who I admired is just an amazing honour.”
Ferrero reached his first major final at Roland Garros in 2002, upsetting then-World No. 4 Andre Agassi and No. 2 Marat Safin en route to the championship match. The Spaniard fell in the final to compatriot Albert Costa. Ferrero returned to the championship match one year later, defeating Martin Verkerk to lift the 2003 Roland Garros title.
Later that year, Ferrero also reached the US Open final (l. to Roddick). His success in 2003 propelled him to the No. 1 position in the FedEx ATP Rankings and he spent 139 weeks inside the Top 5. In 2000, Ferrero became a hero of the first Spanish Davis Cup championship-winning team when he won the final point in Barcelona against fellow nominee Hewitt.
Former World No. 1 doubles player Bjorkman won nine major titles and completed the doubles career Grand Slam. The Swede was twice a champion at the Nitto ATP Finals and he captured 54 doubles titles in all. In singles, Bjorkman reached a career-high No. 4 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and was a semi-finalist at both Wimbledon and the US Open. A dedicated team player, Bjorkman played a major role in three Swedish Davis Cup championship squads.
Spanish clay-court great Sergi Bruguera won back-to-back titles at Roland Garros in 1993 and 1994. The Spaniard’s first title in Paris came with a five-set victory against two-time defending champion Jim Courier. Bruguera reached a career-high No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and won 14 tour-level titles in all. The Barcelona native earned a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games.
Also on the ballot is Lisa Raymond, winner of 11 Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles. In the contributor category, Dennis Van der Meer, the founder of Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), is nominated posthumously.
Fan Voting And The Induction Process
Now that the ballot has been set for the Class of 2021, voting will take place to determine who is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. There is no minimum or maximum number of ballot nominees that can be inducted.
The ballot will go before the Official Voting Group, comprised of tennis journalists, historians, and Hall of Famer’s this fall. Additionally, the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Fan Vote presented by BNP Paribas will run from 1-25 October, for the Player Category nominees only.
Fan Voting offers tennis fans around the globe the opportunity to voice their opinions about who is deserving of Hall of Fame induction and to have an impact on the election outcome by casting a vote online. The three most popular players in the Fan Vote will receive bonus percentage points on their Official Voting Group result.
The candidate with the highest result in the Fan Vote will receive three additional percentage points, while second and third place will receive two and one additional percentage points, respectively.
To be elected into the Hall of Fame, a candidate must receive an affirmative vote in 75 per cent or higher of ballots submitted from the Official Voting Group or a combined total of 75 per cent or higher from their Voting Group result and any bonus percentage points earned in the Fan Vote.
The results of the ITHF Fan Vote will be announced at the conclusion of the voting period. The Class of 2021 Inductees will be announced in early 2021 with the Induction Ceremony slated to take place July 17, 2021.
Since its inception in 1955, the honour of Hall of Fame Induction has been granted to 259 great champions and contributors to the sport from 27 different nations.