- 25 Feb 2021
Lleyton Hewitt is celebrating his 40th birthday in style. The Aussie legend will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame this summer, along with coaching legend Dennis Van der Meer and the WTA’s Original 9.
Hewitt, a former world No 1 and two-time major champion, won 30 ATP titles and played a leading role in two Davis Cup triumphs for Australia. Hewitt also won first place in the Hall of Fame’s Fan Voting, a global vote among a ballot of five candidates which took place late in 2020.
It’s official, Lleyton Hewitt will join the @TennisHalloFame this year 🙌
— TennisAustralia (@TennisAustralia) February 24, 2021
“I am hugely honoured to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Hewitt. “When you are competing, you’re so focused on training and your results that week or that year, you don’t really look ahead to something like this. But when that is all compiled up and deemed deserving of becoming a Hall of Famer, well, it’s just the ultimate recognition for a player, and I’m so honoured.”
“Lleyton Hewitt always competed hard until the last ball was hit, and this is very apparent in the Hall of Fame resume he built, which includes a Wimbledon trophy, a US Open trophy, two Davis Cups, and being world Number 1,” International Tennis Hall of Fame President Stan Smith said in a statement.
Hewitt won his first ATP title in 1998 as a 16-year-old, with a ranking of 550. To this day he is the lowest-ranked champion in ATP history, and also the youngest player to ever hold the No. 1 ranking. Hewitt rose to the top of the ATP rankings on November 19, 2001 at the age of 20 years and 268 days.
The Original Nine
The first group ever admitted to the Hall of Fame, the Original Nine are celebrated for their trailblazing days in which they formed the fledgling WTA Tour.
This is their story…
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) September 23, 2020
Nine women – Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, Billie Jean King, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, Valerie Ziegenfuss, and Australians Judy Tegart Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid – took a stand against growing disparity and unequal playing opportunities for women in tennis when they signed $1 contracts and formed their own breakaway tour in 1970. Fifty years later the WTA tour continues to thrive, as it enjoys equal prize money at all four Grand Slams.
Dennis Van der Meer
A Namibian native that eventually became a US citizen, Dennis Van der Meer is known as a legendary coach that developed a standardized principal of teaching that helped push the sport forward and spearheaded growth in the coaching industry. He coached many professionals, including Billie Jean King, Margaret Court and Amanda Coetzer.
Double ceremony in Newport this summer
The 2020 Hall of Fame induction ceremony was cancelled due to Covid-19, which means that 2020 inductees Goran Ivanišević and Conchita Martínez will be honoured alongside Hewitt, the Original Nine and Van der Meer.