Serena, Federer set to make International Tennis Hall of Fame


Serena Williams and Roger Federer are set to make an impressive class of inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The tennis legends are retiring from the sport in September after leading their respective tours for decades. Williams, 40, concluded her illustrious career at the U.S. Open earlier this month while Federer, 41, is set to retire after the Laver Cup next week.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization based in Newport, R.I., that aims to preserve and celebrate the greatest players in the sport while inspiring tennis fans around the world.

“Anytime we could bring the sport together, that’s a win for all of us, for the sport. The Hall of Fame … should be the magnet to bring people and organizations together,” CEO of the ITHF Todd Martin told NBC at the Legends Ball. “Everyone can align around the history even though you might have different opinions about certain elements of the history.”

The annual Legends Ball, which occurred during the second week of the U.S. Open this year, is the biggest fundraiser for the ITHF, which featured 12 Hall of Famers this year, including Tracy Austin, Billie Jean King, Kim Clijsters and Stan Smith.

“The Hall of Fame carries out the legacy of our sport and brings the tennis family together,” 1992 inductee Austin said.

If there’s one thing Switzerland’s gracious champion Federer and the ITHF have in common, it’s having a connection to the neutral country, Martin said.

“We have a nice bit of geography in our sport and it’s a little bit like Switzerland,” ITHOF CEO Todd Martin told NBC. “We’re neutral and we are friends with everybody and it’s nice when we could bring our friends together.”

As the tennis world gets excited to make space for the two tennis icons, here’s everything you need to know about the International Tennis Hall of Fame and its induction process:

How long do Serena Williams and Roger Federer have to wait to get into the International Tennis Hall of Fame?

Serena Williams, who retired after the U.S. Open this month and Roger Federer, who is set to retire after the Laver Cup held next week, will forever be celebrated and appreciated at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Before their enshrinement into the prestigious ITHF, the tennis world has to wait five years, as per induction requirements

Because of their incredible accomplishments, the pair will earn automatic consideration because they have met the specific qualifications and are set to be enshrined in five years.

What are the International Tennis Hall of Fame requirements?

In order to be considered as an International Tennis Hall of Famer in the player category, there are certain qualifications that must be met.

  1. Players must be active competitors within 20 years of consideration
  2. Not a significant factor occurs within five years of induction from the WTA or ATP Tour
  3. Boasts an impressive record of competitive achievement on the WTA and ATP Tour
  4. Players must display the highest levels of sportsmanship

If players meet either of the following requirements, they get to skip the Enshrinee Nominating Committee review:

  1. Must win at least three Grand Slam titles and hold a spot at world No. 1 for at least 13 weeks total
  2. A player wins at least five major singles titles 

What is the process of getting inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame?

In a span of one year, there is a seven-step process in the player category that the International Tennis Hall of Fame follows before enshrinement. 

  1. In April of the year prior, the general public and global tennis community can nominate players.
  2. In late spring, the Enshirement Eligibility Committee follows the official guide to review nominations.
  3. In July, the Enshrinee Nominating Committee reviews nominees and decided which players will move forward
  4. In September, Official Voting Groups review the nominees and determine if their accomplishments are worthy of Hall of Fame induction.
  5. In September-October, tennis fans can cast their votes
  6. In January, the Incoming Class of Hall of Famers is revealed.
  7. In July, the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction Ceremony occurs.

Who is in the International Tennis Hall of Fame?

In total, there are 262 players and 27 countries represented in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Most recently, Australian Lleyton Hewitt was officially inducted on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

Hewitt, 41, is a two-time Grand Slam champion and was the youngest man to be singles world No. 1 at age 20 before Carlos Alcaraz earned that title this week at age 19.

A full list of Hall of Famers can be found here

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