Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Justine Henin and Marat Safin Elected for Induction in the International Tennis Hall of Fame

Ironic that the most visually appealing and unappealing tennis players of all time would get the nod at the same time.

Justine Henin, whose one-handed backhand was as beautiful as her personality was ugly, won seven Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal and helped Belgium win its first Fed Cup championship. She spent 117 weeks ranked No. 1 and finished the 2003, 2006 and 2007 seasons in the top spot. She won four French Opens, two U.S. Opens and one Australian Open despite her small frame in a game increasingly dominated by "Big Babe" tennis. Marat Safin, one of the hottest men and biggest whack-jobs to ever play the game, won two major titles -- the 2000 U.S. Open and 2005 Australian Open -- and briefly reached No. 1. He is the first Russian elected to the Hall of Fame. These days he's a member of Russian Parliament helping to abuse gay people as a member of Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party. (Sigh.)

Justine Henin:
"It's a big honor. I was five years old when I started playing tennis and my dream was to become a champion. All of the things that then happened- all the dreams that came true, all the victories and Grand Slams, and every emotion that I lived in my tennis career remains something very important in my life today. Being part of the Hall of Fame says that it will remain something forever, and that is very special. I am really honored."

Marat Safin:
"I'm very happy to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. I want to say thank you to everyone who helped me and supported me throughout my tennis career. To be part of a Hall of Fame is every athlete's dream. I am really honored to be inducted and proud to represent Russian tennis alongside the greatest champions of tennis history."


Anonymous said...

so much for inductee qualifications: "...consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship, and character."

Bruno said...

Interesting that you'd go out of your way to point out Justine's character without mentioning that hothead Safin was not only obnoxious on court, but eventually voted for Russia's anti-gay propaganda law as an elected member of the Duma.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Bruno: Interesting that you completely read over my pointing out both of those things.

Mathew Brooks said...

Reading comprehension is a lost art.

Damian said...

Irrespective of their personal qualities, in terms of their profiles within and impact upon the game it's a fun and noteworthy pairing -- in recent years it's only been a single distinctive inductee. Might be worth making the trip up there for the ceremony! And Newport in the summertime is lovely.

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