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Paes and Amritraj became the first Asian men to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame – Magazine Creations

New Delhi, Dec 13 (PTI) Former world doubles No. 1 Leander Paes and Indian broadcaster and promoter Vijay Amritraj have become the first two Asian men to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Alongside the duo, renowned journalist and writer Richard Evans was also elected for the ultimate tennis honour.

Paes, an 18-time Grand Slam champion in doubles and mixed doubles, was selected in the players category, while Amritraj and Evans of the United Kingdom were inducted in the contributors category, which is up for election every two years.

The Contributors category honors true pioneers, visionary leaders, or individuals/groups who have made a transcendent impact on the sport.

The Class of 2024 will be officially inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday in Newport, Rhode Island.

Paes, Amritraj and Evans will join an elite group of 264 inductees from 27 countries – with India set to become the 28th country represented in the Hall of Fame.

“It has been the honor of my life to play for my country for over three decades in a sport that has given me and taught me everything. This recognition is truly the ultimate accolade for every tennis player. Being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame is not just for me, but for For Indians, who number more than a billion people.

“Receiving this honor culminates a lifelong professional journey, standing on the shoulders of greats and setting the tone for other young people in Asia and around the world.”

During a career spanning three decades, Paes topped the world doubles rankings and won 18 Grand Slam titles. With eight Grand Slam titles and 10 mixed doubles, he is one of only three men in tennis history to have held a Grand Slam title at both disciplines.

Paes is tied with his former partner, Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, for the most mixed doubles titles in history. Additionally, he and Hall of Famer Martina Hingis are one of only two mixed doubles teams in the Open Era to complete a Grand Slam career together.

In a testament to his longevity at the pinnacle of the sport, Paes spent a total of 462 weeks inside the ATP top 10, including 37 weeks at No. 1, and won 55 doubles titles on the tour.

Paes has proudly represented India in international competition for 30 years, winning a Davis Cup record 45 doubles rubbers during his career. He has competed in a record seven consecutive Olympic Games, the most in the history of tennis, and is India’s only Olympic medalist in tennis, winning the singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

“I am pleased to congratulate Leander Paes, Vijay Amritraj and Richard Evans on their election to the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Kim Clijsters, ITF President Emeritus and 2017 Hall of Fame inductee.

“These three legends have been pioneers in their impact on tennis, and in spreading the sport around the world. We are excited to celebrate the Class of 2024 next year.”

Earlier this year, fans around the world cast their votes and elected Paes as the winner of the annual fan vote for the Hall of Fame.

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Published: 13 December 2023 05:56 PM IST

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