Five former ATP World Tour stars are candidates on the ballot for International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019, it was announced Wednesday.
Leading the elite group are former World No. 1s in the ATP Rankings, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Thomas Muster. They are joined by former No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings Jonas Bjorkman, 22-time tour-level champion Goran Ivanisevic and 1993-94 Roland Garros titlist Sergi Bruguera.
Conchita Martinez, Li Na and Mary Pierce are also on the ballot. The International Tennis Hall of Fame will be utlising a fan vote — which will open on 27 August and close on 7 October — for the first time.
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“This is an exciting year for the International Tennis Hall of Fame election process, with a broad-ranging group of candidates and our first-ever Fan Vote. The eight candidates on the ballot come from seven nations, and have achieved tremendous results on tennis’ biggest stages – winning Grand Slam titles and Olympic medals, and topping the world rankings,” stated ITHF President Stan Smith, who also serves as Chairman of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee. “Each has done much for the sport and I hope we’ll see their many fans turn out to vote online to support their Hall of Fame candidacy.”
The five ATP World Tour players combined to lift 112 tour-level singles trophies, and they all cracked the world’s Top 5. Bjorkman captured 54 tour-level doubles trophies, while Kafelnikov also climbed as high as No. 4 in the discipline.
“I am of course feeling honoured to be nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” Muster said. “Even though this can never be a goal in a career, the moment you are receiving that call is a very special one.”
The three players who place highest in the fan vote will receive three, two and one additional percentage points on top of the ITHF’s voting group to determine their final result. Players must receive a 75 per cent affirmative ballot to be inducted. Former World No. 2 Michael Stich was inducted as part of the Class of 2018 in July.