JULY 22, NEWPORT, R.I, U.S.A., – Esther Vergeer and Rick Draney, two wheelchair tennis legends, tonight obtained The Final Honor in Tennis, formally being inducted into the Worldwide Tennis Corridor of Fame. Vergeer and Draney have been celebrated for his or her on-court excellence and their pioneering contributions to the all-reaching sport.
In entrance of a packed crowd of household, mates, followers, and fellow Corridor of Famers, Vergeer and Draney turned the sixth and seventh wheelchair athletes to be enshrined, becoming a member of Brad Parks, Randy Snow, Chantal Vandierendonck, David Corridor, and Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch. Their induction marks the primary time within the Corridor of Fame’s historical past that two wheelchair candidates have been elected in the identical yr.
One of the crucial adorned Dutch athletes of all-time, Vergeer is a 21-time Grand Slam champion, 13-time Worldwide Tennis Federation (ITF) World Champion, and four-time Paralympic gold medalist in singles. For 10 years, she was unbeatable and sat atop the world rankings for 668 consecutive weeks. Her doubles profession was additionally full of dominance, successful 23 Grand Slams and 4 Paralympic medals.
“Tennis gave me confidence. Tennis was making me snort. Tennis was making me take again management over my life, believing in myself, trusting that every little thing can be all proper. I’ve by no means felt extra comfy than I’ve on a tennis court docket,” mentioned Vergeer.
“I settle for this honor, and I’m conscious of the accountability it carries: a accountability to encourage the following era of tennis gamers, wheelchair tennis gamers included, to foster a love for the game and create pathways for people who dare to dream,” she additionally shared.
Draney is revered as a pioneer of the Quad Division of wheelchair tennis. Over the course of his profession, Draney earned 12 singles and 6 doubles titles on the Tremendous Collection degree earlier than the arrival of Grand Slam play. Draney spent a mixed 591 weeks inside the doubles and singles Prime 10.
“I’m pleased with the various alternatives I needed to share what I had realized and developed with different quadriplegics so they might take part in play. I’m pleased with being an advocate and campaigner for prospects and alternatives for development of the quad division in america and world wide,” Draney mentioned.
Judy Tegart Dalton, a member of the Authentic 9 pioneers of girls’s tennis and members of the Class of 2021, was additionally acknowledged in the course of the ceremony. Dalton was unable to journey to Newport in 2021, however was aptly championed throughout this yr’s program. In her profession, Dalton collected 9 main doubles titles, finishing the coveted profession Grand Slam in doubles.
“I’d identical to to say how honored I’m to affix this elite group. I really feel that what we did because the Authentic 9 was one thing distinctive. To be honored all collectively, I might have cherished to have been right here, however that is almost pretty much as good. In reality, it’s higher actually,” Dalton mentioned.
In a press convention earlier in the present day, Vergeer additionally mirrored on the event, saying her induction is, “The largest honor you’ll be able to have as an athlete.”
Previous to the ceremony, Vergeer and Draney obtained their signature Corridor of Fame Brooks Brothers blazers, and have been celebrated after the ceremony on the official Enshrinement Reception offered by Infosys.