NEWPORT, RI, USA - Former World No.1 and six-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters has been elected to receive induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
"I feel very, very honored to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame," the Belgian said in a video statement that will play during a special ceremony at the Australian Open on Tuesday. "It is a huge honor to be amongst a list of so many great tennis players who I admired when I was growing up, and some great players who I played with in my tennis career as well."
Joining Clijsters in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, a 4-time Paralympic medalist in wheelchair tennis, being honored for her remarkable career.
Additionally, two individuals will be inducted in the Contributor Category. Steve Flink, a distinguished tennis historian and journalist has been elected for induction. Vic Braden, a groundbreaking tennis instructor who was among the first to apply sports science to his instructional tactics will be inducted posthumously.
"It's a real pleasure to welcome these five remarkable individuals into the Hall of Fame. Kim, Andy, and Monique compiled outstanding careers, winning the game's biggest titles and ascending to the world No. 1 ranking," remarked International Tennis Hall of Fame President and 1987 Hall of Famer Stan Smith.
The Class of 2017 will be officially inducted on July 22, during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. Tickets for the Induction Ceremony will go on sale in early February. In addition, the class will be celebrated in a tribute exhibit opening in June in the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which will be displayed for one year.
One of six women in tennis history to simultaneously top the world rankings in singles and doubles, Clijsters was the world No. 1 player for 19 weeks and was ranked within the World's Top 5 for 250 weeks during her career. She is a three-time US Open champion (2005, 2009, 2010) and she was also the 2011 Australian Open champion. Clijsters won two major doubles titles, capturing both the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003.
Clijsters is a three-time champion at the WTA Finals (2002, 2003, 2010). She won 41 singles titles, and was a dedicated Belgian Fed Cup team member, leading the team to their first Fed Cup title in 2001 and into the finals again in 2006.
Clijsters retired from tennis in 2007, and then embarked on a second career in tennis with a comeback in 2009. That year, she went on to win the US Open, in what was just her third tournament back on the tour. She was unranked, unseeded, and a wild card entry to the event. Two years later, in 2011, she once again reached the world No. 1 ranking, five years after she had last been there.
Since retirement, Clijsters, now a mother of three, has been focused on her family. She remains engaged in tennis through Kim Clijsters Academy in Belgium, where many juniors train and through competing in Legends events at the Grand Slams.
All photos courtesy of Getty Images.