Justine Henin and Marat Safin to be inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame
March 29, 2016 — Former WTA Tour world No. 1 Justine Henin, who won seven Grand Slam singles titles, and Marat Safin, a two-time major champion and former ATP World Tour world No. 1 have been elected to receive tennis' highest honor - induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2016 inductees were announced March 8 at a press conference in New York City in conjunction with World Tennis Day and the BNP Paribas Showdown.
Henin and Safin have been elected in the Recent Player Category for induction in the Class of 2016. In addition, Yvon Petra, a notable French tennis player of the 1940s, and Margaret "Peggy" Scriven, British tennis champion of the 1930s, will be inducted posthumously in the Master Player Category.
Henin is the first Belgian inductee to the Hall of Fame; and, Safin is the first Russian player to be inducted. Since 1955, the honor of Hall of Fame induction has been awarded to 243 tennis champions and leaders representing 21 nations.
"It is a pleasure to announce the induction of Justine Henin and Marat Safin into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” Stan Smith, International Tennis Hall of Fame President, said. Justine and Marat committed themselves to the sport and worked relentlessly at being champions of the highest caliber. As a result, they achieved extraordinary careers with world No. 1 rankings and Grand Slam tournament victories. They led their nations to victories in Fed Cup and Davis Cup. They are rightfully a source of national pride in Belgium and Russia, and we are looking forward to welcoming them as the very first Hall of Fame inductees from those nations."
"Also this year, we remember and recognize the achievements of two of tennis' great early champions, Yvon Petra, who claimed a Wimbledon title after five years as a prisoner-of-war, and Margaret Scriven who won two back-to-back singles titles at the French Championships. Their success is part of the sport's storied history, and we're glad to recognize their accomplishments. We look forward to celebrating all of the inductees in Newport in July."
The Class of 2016 Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday July 16, 2016, during Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The weekend will feature museum tribute exhibits for the new Hall of Famers and celebratory parties and special events. The ceremony and festivities will be held in conjunction with the annual Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, an ATP World Tour 250 event.
About Safin and Henin
Justine Henin, 33, of Belgium, was the world No. 1 player for 117 weeks. She was the year-end No. 1 three times, clinching the top spot in 2003, 2006, and 2007.
Powered by an explosive one-handed backhand, Henin won seven Grand Slam singles titles, including four French Open titles, three of which were consecutive. In addition to her French Open titles, Henin won two US Open titles and an Australian Open title. Henin won 43 singles titles in all, including 10 WTA Tour Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 titles. She compiled an extraordinary career record of 525-115.
While smaller in stature than many of her competitors, Henin was applauded for her mental toughness and an outstanding all-around game. She was known for a powerful forehand, superior volley skills and court coverage, and her famous one-handed backhand.
In 2004, Henin won the Olympic Gold Medal in Athens. She was a dedicated Belgian Fed Cup team member, leading the team to their first Fed Cup title in 2001 and into the finals again in 2006.
Since retirement, Henin's ventures have included running a tennis academy in Belgium, as well as a foundation dedicated to medical needs of children.
Marat Safin, 36, of Russia, is a two-time Grand Slam tournament champion. He held the world No. 1 ranking for nine weeks, and was in the world top-five for 119 weeks. Safin was regarded as a power player with strong groundstrokes and a particularly dangerous backhand.
Safin won his first major title at the 2000 US Open, when he defeated Pete Sampras. He is the first and only Russian man to have won the title. Safin went on to win the 2005 Australian Open with a victory over Lleyton Hewitt, defeating then world No. 1 Roger Federer in a five-set battle en route to the final.
Safin won 15 singles titles. In addition to his Grand Slam tournament titles, he won five ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. He compiled a career record of 422-267.
Safin was an integral member of the Russian Davis Cup team for 11 years. In 2002, he was instrumental in leading Russia to defeat France for their first Davis Cup victory. In 2006, he won the deciding rubber against Argentina to claim the title for Russia again.
Since retiring from the ATP World Tour, Safin has served on the Russian Olympic Committee and has worked with the Russian Tennis Federation. In 2011, he was elected to serve in the Russian Federal Parliament.