International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: A Day To Remember
Each year in July, tennis’ biggest stars and most devoted fans convene in Newport, RI for the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremony. This year’s induction saw two recently retired legends of the game join the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility: Belgian superstar Kim Clijsters, and Andy Roddick, the last American male to hold the ATP’s No. 1 singles ranking. Joining them were wheelchair tennis trailblazer Monique Kalkman-Van Den Bosch, and esteemed tennis journalist Steve Flink.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame is located in Newport’s idyllic seaside downtown, and it plays host to North America’s only professional grass-court tournament, the Dell Tech Open. This year’s champion, top seed John Isner, has won the tournament a total of three times, and makes the event a must-see for tennis fans across New England.
Throughout her week in Newport Kim Clijsters signed autographs and played exhibition matches in front of Dell Tech Open fans in a special commemorative collection from Fila that honored her 2012 farewell season. Clijsters wore the classic red, white, and blue outfit when she played her final match at the 2012 U.S. Open, and it calls to mind Fila’s more recent Heritage Collection, worn by players such as current women’s No. 1 Karolina Pliskova earlier in 2017.
Meanwhile, Andy Roddick remains the 21st century’s premier American male tennis player in both on-court results and off-court popularity. He has enjoyed a successful media career after retiring from tennis and has become something of a social-media star. So, it was no surprise that he delivered a smart and witty induction speech. Roddick won the 2003 U.S. Open and attained the world No. 1 ranking soon after; he reached four more major finals in his career but lost all of them to Roger Federer. His unique, powerful service motion, delivered in Roddick’s favorite Lacoste polos, is one of the iconic images of 2000s tennis.
For fans of tennis tradition and fast-paced grass-court play, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is a dream destination. We’re so glad that the Tennis Express community was able to be a part of the festivities this year, and we look forward to welcoming more tennis greats into the Hall of Fame in the years to come.