Leander Paes, Vijay Amritraj Become First Asian Men To Be Inducted In International Tennis Hall Of Fame

Leander Paes and Vijay Amritraj will join an elite group of 264 inductees from 27 countries, with India set to become the 28th nation represented in the Hall of Fame. Paes has been selected in the tennis player category and Amritraj in the contributor category

File image of Leander Paes.

Former doubles world No. 1 Leander Paes and broadcaster and promoter Vijay Amritraj of India have become the first Asian men to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. (Tennis News)

Besides the duo, renowned journalist and writer Richard Evans have also been elected in the Ultimate Honour in Tennis.

Paes, an 18-time Grand Slam champion in doubles and mixed doubles, has been selected in the player category, while Amritraj and United Kingdom's Evans are inductees in the contributor category, which is considered for election every two years.      

The contributor category recognises true pioneers, visionary leaders, or individuals/groups who have made a transcendent impact on the sport.

The Class of 2024 will be officially inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday in Newport, Rhode Island.

Paes, Amritraj and Evans will join an elite group of 264 inductees from 27 nations – with India set to become the 28th nation represented in the Hall of Fame.

"It has been my life's honour to play for my country for over three decades in a sport that has given and taught me everything. This acknowledgment is indeed the ultimate accolade for every tennis player. Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame belongs not just to me, but to our billion-plus Indians," Paes said. 

"Receiving this honour culminates a professional journey of a lifetime, standing on the shoulders of greats and sets the tone for other youngsters in Asia and around the world."

During his three-decade career, Paes topped the world rankings in doubles and won 18 Grand Slam titles. With eight doubles Grand Slam titles and 10 in mixed doubles, he is one of only three men in tennis history to capture a career Grand Slam in both disciplines.

Paes is tied with his former partner, Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, for the most mixed doubles major titles in history. Additionally, he and Hall of Famer Martina Hingis are one of only two mixed doubles teams in the Open Era to complete a career Grand Slam together.

In a testament to his longevity at the sport's height, Paes spent a total of 462 weeks inside the ATP doubles top 10, including 37 weeks at No. 1, and won 55 doubles titles on tour.

Paes proudly represented India in international competition for 30 years, winning a Davis Cup record 45 doubles rubbers during his career. He competed in a record seven consecutive Olympic Games, the most in tennis history, and is India's only Olympic medallist in tennis, capturing bronze in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

"I am thrilled to congratulate Leander Paes, Vijay Amritraj, and Richard Evans on their election to the International Tennis Hall of Fame," Kim Clijsters, Honorary President of ITHF and Class of 2017 Hall of Famer said.

"These three legends have served as trailblazers in their impact on tennis, and in spreading the sport worldwide. We are excited to celebrate the Class of 2024 in the coming year."

Earlier this year, fans around the globe cast their ballots and elected Paes as the winner of the Hall of Fame's annual Fan Vote for induction.