Esther Vergeer and Rick Draney to be inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame 

Vergeer and Draney were announced as the Class of 2023 in a special ceremony at the ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam, marking the first time two wheelchair candidates were elected simultaneously 21 Feb 2023
A graphic image featuring photos of Esther Vergeer and Rick Draney next to the words "Class of 2023".
Esther Vergeer and Rick Draney will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on 22 July.
ⒸInternational Tennis Hall of Fame
By ITF and IPC

Eight-time Paralympic medallist Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands and quad wheelchair tennis pioneer, Rick Draney of the United States, were elected to receive tennis’ ultimate honour – induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2023 was introduced on court at the ABN AMRO Open in Rotterdam, the Netherlands on 18 February. Vergeer currently serves as tournament director of the ABN AMRO Open’s men’s and women’s wheelchair events.

Vergeer and Draney will become the sixth and seventh wheelchair tennis inductees to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, joining Brad Parks, Randy Snow, Chantal Vandierendonck, David Hall, and Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch.

The Class of 2023 marks the first time that two wheelchair tennis candidates were elected at the same time. @Marleen Fouchier/ITHF

Wheelchair tennis candidates are considered for election into the Hall of Fame every four years. The category recognises candidates with a distinguished record of achievement at the highest international level. This year marks the first time two wheelchair candidates have been elected simultaneously.

The Class of 2023 will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on 22 July in Newport, USA. Vergeer and Draney will join an elite group of 262 inductees representing 27 nations as Hall of Famers.

About the inductees: Esther Vergeer

Esther Vergeer is one of the most decorated athletes in Dutch sport history as a 21-time singles Grand Slam champion, 13-time International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Champion and four-time Paralympic gold medallist in singles. She topped the world rankings for 668 uninterrupted weeks from October 2000 to January 2013, and retired with a singles winning streak of 470 victories.

Vergeer’s career in doubles was equally impressive, as she won 23 Grand Slam titles and four Paralympic medals.

Vergeer is a four-time Paralympic champion in women's singles. @International Tennis Hall of Fame

In all, Vergeer captured 169 singles titles, 136 doubles titles, and posted a singles career winning percentage of 96 per cent.

Since 2009, Vergeer has served as tournament director of the ABN AMRO Open’s wheelchair tennis tournament. In 2004, she launched the Esther Vergeer Foundation, which introduces children with disabilities in the Netherlands to the positive and lasting effects of sport.

“I am very honored that I will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and become part of history in the beautiful sport of tennis," Vergeer said. "Tennis has been a very big and very important part of my life. It helped me grow into the person I am today, and I learned many lessons because I was able to play sports. I am very thankful and proud of the fact that I was successful on the tennis court. I wish to thank the many great people around me that supported me and believed in me.”

About the inductees: Rick Draney

A three-time ITF year-end world No. 1 in quad singles, Rick Draney was instrumental in the growth and professionalism of the quad division of wheelchair tennis.

During his career, which began in 1984, he captured 12 singles and six doubles titles at the Super Series level, prior to the advent of the Grand Slam level. Draney’s Super Series singles titles include five British Open titles and seven titles at the US Open. Draney spent a total of 289 weeks in the singles top 10 of the quad division computerised rankings, including 118 weeks at No. 1, and an additional 302 weeks in the doubles top 10 (102 weeks at No. 1).

In addition to being a successful athlete, Draney helped to grow the quad division in wheelchair tennis. @International Tennis Hall of Fame

He also served as the tournament committee chairperson of the US Open USTA Wheelchair Tennis Championships for nine years, and in 2012 received the USTA’s Brad Parks Award, given in recognition of фт outstanding contribution to the sport of wheelchair tennis. 

“I am overwhelmed by the honoгr of being inducted, and I don’t know that I will ever be able to fully comprehend the significance," Draney said. "I am very thankful and grateful for the love, support, and guidance of so many that influenced me and contributed to the countless opportunities and experiences I had.  It has been so enjoyable to reminisce and reflect upon all the memories of the people, the places, the challenges, and the successes that impacted my career on and off the court.”