Sunday, June 16, 2024

Leander Paes, Vijay Amritraj become first Asian men to be inducted in Tennis Hall of Fame

Former doubles world No. 1 Leander Paes and ex-player, broadcaster and promoter Vijay Amritraj, become the first Asian men to be elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Paes, an 18-time Grand Slam champion in doubles and mixed doubles, has been selected in the Player Category while Amritraj are inductee in the Contributor Category, which is considered for election every two years, along with British journalist and historian Richard Evans.

The Contributor Category recognizes true pioneers, visionary leaders, or individuals/groups who have made a transcendent impact on the sport.

The official induction ceremony will take place on July 20, 2024 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Paes, Amritraj and Evans will join an elite group of 264 inductees from 27 nations – with India set to become the 28th nation represented in the Hall of Fame.

With eight doubles Grand Slam titles and 10 in mixed doubles, Paes is one of only three men in tennis history to capture a career Grand Slam in both disciplines. He won 55 doubles titles on tour and also spent a total of 462 weeks inside the ATP doubles top 10, including 37 weeks at No. 1.

“It has been my life’s honor to play for my country for over three decades in a sport that has given and taught me everything. This acknowledgment is indeed the ultimate accolade for every tennis player. Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame belongs not just to me, but to our billion-plus Indians.

“Receiving this honor culminates a professional journey of a lifetime, standing on the shoulders of greats and sets the tone for other youngsters in Asia and around the world, Paes said.

Paes competed in a record seven consecutive Olympic Games, the most in tennis history, and is India’s only Olympic medalist in tennis, capturing bronze in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Amritraj was one of India’s greatest players in the Open Era, anchoring India’s Davis Cup squad to its only two Finals appearances in 1974 and 1987; in 1974, he played a key role in India’s boycott of the Final against South Africa to demonstrate against Apartheid.

Post-retirement, he has become the face of tennis broadcasting in Asia and the Middle East.



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