NEWPORT, RI, USA - Three of the WTA's most decorated Grand Slam champions are on the eight-player ballot for next year's induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Conchita Martínez, Li Na and Mary Pierce are all eligible for enshrinement in the player category next year, as announced by the ITHOF on Wednesday.
"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.
"They've also each had massive impact on the sport in their home nations as trailblazers, Olympic and Fed and Davis Cup Champions, first-time Slam winners from their countries, and great ambassadors for tennis. 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."
Li Na, China's first great tennis star, won two Grand Slam tournament singles titles and reached a career-high ranking of World No.2.
Her first major title came at the 2011 French Open, where she defeated top players including Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, and defending champion Francesa Schiavone en route to the trophy. In 2014, she won a second major title at the Australian Open, where she was a finalist in 2011 and 2013.
Her career accomplishments, combined with her engaging personality, resulted in a transformative effect on the popularity of tennis in China. More than 116 million people tuned in to watch her French Open final, and participation and interest in the sport has soared since her playing days.
Four-time major champion Mary Pierce won singles titles at the Australian Open and Roland-Garros, as well as a doubles title at Roland-Garros and a mixed doubles title at Wimbledon. In her 1995 Australian Open victory, she won the title without losing a set.
Five years later, the French player won both the singles and doubles titles at her home country's Grand Slam, defeating three-time champion Monica Seles and No. 1 seed Martina Hingis en route to the singles trophy.
Pierce reached a career high of World No.3 in both singles and doubles and won 18 singles titles and 10 doubles titles, plus two Fed Cups for France.
In a 15-year career on the WTA Tour, Conchita Martínez won 33 singles titles and 13 doubles titles. She was the 1994 Wimbledon champion, defeating nine-time champion Martina Navratilova in the final.
She was also a finalist at the Australian Open and French Open. Martínez reached a career high of world No. 2 and spent 190 weeks ranked inside the world's Top 5. In addition, she was a key member of five championship Fed Cup teams and a three-time Olympic medalist in doubles.
Candidates on the ballot for International Tennis Hall of Fame induction are selected from nominations submitted by the general public and tennis community. The ITHF Enshrinee Nominating Committee, which meets annually in June, then reviews all nominations and determines the ballot. The committee is comprised of 23 individuals from around the world with expertise in various areas of the sport.
The ITHF Voting Group, which consists of tennis media and Hall of Famers, then casts their votes. To be inducted, an affirmative vote of 75 percent of returned ballots is required. Votes are tallied by an independent accounting firm.
New for 2019, the International Tennis Hall of Fame has introduced a fan vote component to the process. From Aug. 27 through Oct. 7, fans around the world are able to participate in the Hall of Fame election process by voting online at vote.tennisfame.com. The top three vote getters in the Fan Vote will receive bonus percentage points added onto their result from the committee to determine their ultimate final result.
The candidate with the highest result in the Fan Vote will receive three additional percentage points, while second and third places will receive two and one additional percentage points respectively.
The results of fan voting will be announced at the conclusion of the voting period in early October. The overall results and the complete Class of 2019 will be announced in January at the Australian Open. The 2019 Induction Ceremony will be hosted on July 20, 2019.