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, buddies, followers, and fellow Corridor of Famers, Vergeer and Draney grew to become 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 12 months.
Probably the most embellished 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 snigger. Tennis was making me take again management over my life, believing in myself, trusting that all the pieces could be all proper. I’ve by no means felt extra comfy than I’ve on a tennis courtroom,” stated Vergeer.
“I settle for this honor, and I’m conscious of the duty it carries: a duty to encourage the subsequent 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 Sequence stage earlier than the arrival of Grand Slam play. Draney spent a mixed 591 weeks inside the doubles and singles High 10.
“I’m pleased with the various alternatives I needed to share what I had discovered and developed with different quadriplegics so they may take part in play. I’m pleased with being an advocate and campaigner for prospects and alternatives for progress of the quad division in america and around the globe,” Draney stated.
Judy Tegart Dalton, a member of the Unique 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 12 months’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 Unique 9 was one thing distinctive. To be honored all collectively, I might have liked to have been right here, however that is almost nearly as good. The truth is, it’s higher actually,” Dalton stated.
In a press convention earlier at present, Vergeer additionally mirrored on the event, saying her induction is, “The most important honor you possibly can 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.