"Wheelchair tennis being celebrated on a platform like this is unbelievable."
Four-time Paralympic medallist Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch has become the fifth wheelchair tennis player to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The Dutch player, who also has four International Tennis Federations (ITF) world titles, is joined in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 by former singles world No.1s Andy Roddick of the USA and Kim Clijsters of Belgium.
The three former players were inducted alongside Steve Flink, a distinguished tennis historian and journalist, and the late Vic Braden, a groundbreaking tennis instructor, who was inducted posthumously.
Fellow Hall of Famers present for the Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony included Brad Parks, the founder of wheelchair tennis and first wheelchair tennis player to be inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2010.
Kalkman-van den Bosch, who was presented by her husband and wheelchair tennis coach Marc Kalkman, achieved the world No. 1 ranking in both singles (for 126 weeks) and doubles, spending a collective 264 weeks during her career in the world top 5.
"It's an unbelievable, incredible honour to be here today. I am so proud and deeply honored and humbled at the same time to become part of this tennis family, and to join Kim, Andy, Steve and posthumously Vic Braden. Congratulations," said Kalkman-van den Bosch.
"You are such great champions, each in your own field of tennis. Wheelchair tennis being celebrated on a platform like this is unbelievable.”
A passionate athlete from a very young age, Kalkman-van den Bosch was a competitive junior tennis player in the Netherlands prior to her illness. She was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 and, as a result, was left paralysed from the waist down. As she recovered, Kalkman-van den Bosch had to adapt her dreams to her new reality of living in a wheelchair.
Kalkman-van den Bosch first embraced table tennis because wheelchair tennis was still in its early years of development and had not been established in Europe. In 1984 she became a Paralympic gold medallist in table tennis before switching her focus to wheelchair tennis two years later.
From 1992 to 1996, Kalkman-van den Bosch won four Paralympic medals in wheelchair tennis, including three golds, two of which were in the doubles alongside 2014 Hall of Famer Chantal Vandierendonck.
Kalkman-van den Bosch is the first and only female athlete to win Paralympic gold medals in two different individual sports (tennis and table tennis). Her Paralympic medals are among the items on display as part of her tribute exhibit at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
In addition to her success at the Paralympics, Kalkman-van den Bosch was the ITF Wheelchair Tennis World Champion four times (1992 - 1995) and an eight-time singles champion in Super Series events.
She was also the winner of the women's title at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in 1994 and 1995, the first two years that the ITF's year-end wheelchair singles championship was staged. Kalkman-van den Bosch's career record of 151-25 singles record and her 53-7 doubles record puts her as one of the best wheelchair tennis players of her era.
Kalkman-van den Bosch joins Brad Parks (USA - Class of 2010), Randy Snow (USA - Class of 2012), Chantal Vandierendock (NED - Class of 2014) and David Hall (AUS - Class of 2015) as wheelchair tennis players inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Full stories can be found on the International Tennis Federation’s website.