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Wheelchair tennis star Vergeer, pioneer Draney join Hall of Fame

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ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Wheelchair star Esther Vergeer and quad division pioneer Rick Draney were announced as the International Tennis Hall of Fame inductees for the Class of 2023 on Saturday.

It is the first time two people were elected in the same year in the Wheelchair Tennis Category, which appears on the Hall ballot every four years. The additions of Vergeer and Draney raise the total number of wheelchair tennis inductees to seven.

For the second consecutive year, no one nominated in the Player Category was picked to join the Hall, which has been around since 1955. The Class of 2022 marked the first time in history no one on the ballot was selected. This year’s Player Category candidates were Cara Black, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Ana Ivanovic, Carlos Moya, Daniel Nestor, Flavia Pennetta and Lisa Raymond.

Candidates need to be chosen on 75% of ballots; voters include media, historians, Hall of Fame members, industry experts and fans. Nominees can remain in contention for three years.

The results of the 2023 balloting were announced Saturday during the ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam, where Vergeer is the tournament director for the wheelchair events.

Vergeer, who is Dutch, won 44 Grand Slam titles between singles and doubles and was unbeaten for more than 10 years, retiring with a singles winning streak of 470 matches.

She won eight Paralympic medals — four each in singles and doubles — and was a 13-time International Tennis Federation world champion.

Draney, who is from the United States, played a key role in the development of the quad division in wheelchair tennis, in addition to being an accomplished athlete. He was a three-time International Tennis Federation year-end No. 1 in quad singles and also reached No. 1 in doubles.

The induction ceremony will be on July 22 in Newport, Rhode Island, the site of the Hall.


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