NEWPORT, R.I. (Aug. 20, 2018) - The International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) has announced that for the first time in its 64-year history, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the incoming class of Hall of Famers. Fan Voting is the International Tennis Hall of Fame's newest initiative to bring global sports fans across the world closer to the sport of tennis, its history, and the Hall of Fame.
Fans will be able to cast their votes for the nominees August 27 through October 7 online at vote.tennisfame.com. There are eight candidates hailing from all over the world on the ballot for the Class of 2019. The ballot of candidates will be announced later this week, just ahead of the opening of Fan Voting.
"We're thrilled to add this new Fan Voting component to the Hall of Fame voting process," said International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin. "Creating an authentic connection between tennis fans and the greatest champions of our sport will be an engaging execution of our mission to promote and celebrate tennis history. Tennis is such a global sport and the fans of our inductees come from every corner of the globe. We know they might not all be able to get to Newport to see an induction, but hopefully this voting program will offer an opportunity for them to enjoy being part of the process."
Traditionally, election for the International Tennis Hall of Fame induction has been a result of votes cast by a vetted Voting Group of Hall of Famers, journalists, and historians. This voting process will remain in place, and Fan Voting will be an added element to the process.
To be elected into the Hall of Fame a candidate must receive an affirmative vote of 75 percent of ballots submitted by the Voting Group. New this year, the top three vote getters in the Fan Vote will receive bonus percentage points on their score. The candidate with the highest result in the Fan Vote will receive three additional percentage points, while second and third place will receive two and one additional percentage points respectively.
Fans will be able to vote only once but can cast their vote for as many candidates they'd like at that time. Once submitted, fans will receive an "I Voted" digital sticker, which they are encouraged to share via social media platforms.
"I think it's terrific to get the fans involved in the Hall of Fame voting process," said ITHF Global Ambassador and Class of 2017 Hall of Famer Kim Clijsters. "Being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame was such a special highlight of my career. It is a huge honor for any athlete. To have the recognition come from peers, members of the media, and now the fans who are such dedicated supporters throughout our careers will make it really special for the incoming Hall of Famers. It's an innovative step for tennis and I'll be excited to see the results."
The results of fan voting will be announced at the conclusion of the voting period in early October. The full induction Class of 2019 will be announced in January at the Australian Open.
Since 1955, 254 inductees from 23 countries have earned their place in the Hall of Fame.
To learn more or to cast a vote when voting opens, visit vote.tennisfame.com