wheelchair icons Esther Vergeer, Rick Draney

An inspiring Tennis Hall of Fame ceremony: wheelchair icons Esther Vergeer, Rick Draney
(Provided by Tennis World USA)

Two wheelchair tennis icons, Esther Vergeer and Rick Draney, told their moving stories in a moving ceremony celebrating their contributions to the sport of tennis and their inspiring perseverance in the face of tremendous adversity. Both legends in life and sport, their tennis performances were off the charts, with Draney and Vergeer winning doubles and 50-reel streaks.

Vergeer, now 42, would surely have added to that impressive tally with even more majors but for the fact that Wimbledon did not offer wheelchair tennis during the Dutch player’s tenure.Worth the waitBefore Draney and Verger were celebrated, some belated business was conducted by honoring Australian Judy Dalton, one of the original 9, who was unable to make the ceremony honoring the trailblazing women who fought for equal rights in the sport, culminating in the formation of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

At the induction celebration in 2021, she videotaped her speech, but Dalton donned her Hall of Fame jacket in person this year and had her induction medal presented to her by the new International Tennis Hall of Fame Honorary President, Kim Clijsters. “I am very honored to be here today for the first time,” said C the honorary president for the first time in the role of the new honorary president in her list. 021, the original 9 of women’s tennis was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in recognition of the courageous actions they took to create an opportunity for women to play tennis professionally and earn a living through the sport.

I am personally very grateful of course. “A member of the Original 9 was unable to travel to Newport for induction in 2021. We were delighted to celebrate her today”. “First of all, Kim, I’d love to say thank you so much for presenting it.

Congratulations on being chairman. It’s wonderful,” Dalton said after Clijsters’ introduction. “I just want to say how honored I am to join this elite group. I feel like what we did as Original 9 was something unique.

To be honored all together, I would have loved to have been here, but this is about as good. Actually, it’s really better,” Dalton said, laughing.

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