Photo: Mathilde DsuolChantal Vandierendonck receiving the ITF's Brad Parks Award from Ellen de Lange in 2010
Former world No. 1 and five-time Paralympic medallist Chantal Vandierendonck (NED) is among the nominees announced on Thursday for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame as part of the of the Class of 2014.
Vandierendonck, who became the first women’s ITF World Champion for wheelchair tennis in 1991, is nominated in the Recent Player Category alongside former world No. 1 and six-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport, winner of two Grand Slam singles titles Mary Pierce and 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez.
Additionally, three individuals have been nominated in the Contributor Category for their work toward the growth and development of the sport. Legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who has guided ten players to world No. 1 status; Jane Brown Grimes, who has held executive leadership roles with the WTA, USTA, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame; and British tennis broadcaster and author John Barrett.
Vandierendonck is the third wheelchair tennis player to be nominated for induction to the International Tennis Hallf of Fame after Brad Parks, the founder of wheelchair tennis, was inducted as part of the Class of 2010, . while Randy Snow was inducted as part of the Class of 2012.
The 2014 nominees were announced live on the air during Thursday's US Open broadcast on Tennis Channel, where Lindsay Davenport is a member of the team.
Vandierendonck, 48, was one of the early stars of Wheelchair Tennis. She was the ITF World Champion three times, she won five Paralympic medals, and she was the world No. 1 player for a total of 136 weeks in singles, and was also ranked world No. 1 in doubles.
Vandierendonck was a talented national tennis player before being injured in a car accident in 1983. She heard about wheelchair tennis from an uncle who had seen it being played on television, and she quickly picked up the sport. She became the first in a long line of top-ranked Dutch women in the sport, and she has taken an active role in helping to grow the sport.
After being crowned the first ITF World Champion in 1991, Vandierendonck then went on to win the title again in 1996 and 1997. Between 1985 and 1993, she won seven women’s singles titles at the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. She also captured two doubles titles at the event.
Vandierendonck was tremendously successful in the Paralympic Games. She won the women’s singles gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Games, when wheelchair tennis was a demonstration sport. She then went on to win two women’s doubles gold medals, a women’s singles silver and a women’s singles bronze at the 1992 and 1996 Games, after wheelchair tennis was awarded full medal status.
"Lindsay Davenport, Mary Pierce, and Conchita Martinez were three of the most exciting women's tennis players of their time,” said Stan Smith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 and now serves as the International Tennis Hall of Fame President and Chair of the Enshrinee Nominating Committee.
“They brought many fans to the sport, delivered exciting matches, and achieved tremendous results. Chantal Vandierendonck was a trailblazer for wheelchair tennis, inspiring many athletes after her, building the sport up, and achieving incredible success.
"Of course, tennis would not be the exciting, global sport we know and love today were it not for the work of many dedicated coaches, administrators, and journalists, and so we are delighted to recognise Nick Bollettieri, Jane Brown Grimes, and John Barrett with appreciation and admiration for all they have done for tennis.”
Voting for the 2014 ballot will take place over the next several months, culminating with an announcement early next year to reveal the Class of 2014. The International Media Panel, which consists of tennis journalists and authors, will vote on the Recent Player nominee.
The International Masters Panel, which consists of Hall of Famers and individuals who are highly knowledgeable of the sport and its history, will vote on the Contributor nominees. To be inducted in either category, an affirmative vote of 75% is required.
The Class of 2014 Enshrinement Ceremony will be hosted on Saturday, 12 July 2014 during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.