(June 22, 2016) NEWPORT, R.I., – Tennis legends Jimmy Connors and Monica Seles will return to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island this summer to serve as presenters at the Hall of Fame induction festivities.
The Class of 2016 Induction Ceremony will see the sport’s highest honor be presented to former world No. 1’s Marat Safin of Russia and Justine Henin of Belgium. In addition, Class of 2015 Hall of Famer Amelie Mauresmo will be honored during the ceremony. Mauresmo was unable to attend last year’s ceremony due to the birth of her child.
“It’s very fitting to have the great champions of the Class of 2016 be welcomed into the International Tennis Hall of Fame by two of our sport’s all-time greats, Jimmy Connors and Monica Seles. We’re looking forward to a fantastic Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend in Newport in July to celebrate Justine, Marat, and Amelie, and their remarkable accomplishments,” commented Todd Martin, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Along with the inductees, Connors and Seles headline a star-studded weekend in Newport for the festivities, with the induction ceremony set for July 16 and additional events throughout the weekend, including PowerShares Legends Newport, a one-day legends tournament featuring Safin back in action.
Connors, an eight-time major champion, will serve as the presenter for Safin at the ceremony. In the ceremony, the presenter traditionally introduces the inductee before they are officially inducted, providing a look back at their career accomplishments and contributions to the sport. Although they played in different eras, Connors and Safin, both fiery competitors, have long been admirers of each other’s tennis careers. Connors was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998.
Seles, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009, will present Henin at the induction ceremony. Seles and Henin’s careers had some overlap with the two players meeting in competition seven times. Both players were bolstered by notable baseline games and fierce backhands, and the two legends also approached the sport with a mental toughness that made them nearly untouchable at times.
During the ceremony, Amelie Mauresmo will be presented by her longtime manager and friend Micky Lawler, who now serves as president of the WTA.
International Tennis Hall of Fame President Stan Smith, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987, will play an active role in the induction ceremony. Hall of Famers Rosie Casals, Vic Seixas, Owen Davidson, Butch Buchholz, Donald Dell, Peachy Kellmeyer, Charlie Pasarell, and Jane Brown Grimes, will all be in Newport for the event. Additional notable tennis guests joining the celebration will include former world No. 1 Dinara Safina, sister of Marat Safin; retired WTA player Jill Craybas, who is a Rhode Island native; and former ATP stars Vijay Armritraj and Jimmy Arias.
On Sunday, July 17, when the newly inducted Marat Safin will be back in action on the tennis court. Safin will be competing in PowerShares Legends Newport, a special one-day tournament featuring three matches and one eventual champion crowned among retired tennis greats. In addition to Safin, the event will feature Andy Roddick, James Blake, and Mark Philippoussis.