One of six women in tennis history to simultaneously top the world rankings in singles and doubles, Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, was the world No. 1 player for 19 weeks and was ranked within the world top-5 for 250 weeks during her career. Bolstered by a powerful baseline game and remarkable defensive skills on court, Clijsters won four Grand Slam tournament singles titles. She is a three-time US Open champion (2005, 2009, 2010) and she was also the 2011 Australian Open champion. Clijsters won two major doubles titles, capturing both the French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2003.
Clijsters is a three-time champion at the WTA Tour Championships. She won 41 singles titles in all, including 7 WTA Tour Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 titles. 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.
Clijsters retired from tennis in 2007, and then embarked on a second career in tennis with a comeback in 2009. That year, she went on to win the US Open, in what was just her third tournament back on the tour. She was unranked, unseeded, and a wild card entry to the event. Two years later, in 2011, she once again reached the world No. 1 ranking, five years after she had last been there.
Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, of the Netherlands, is a former wheelchair tennis player who achieved the No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles. She was world No. 1 in singles for 126 weeks, and she spent a collective 264 weeks during her career in the world top-5. A passionate athlete from a very young age, Kalkman-van den Bosch was a competitive junior tennis player in The Netherlands, prior to her illness. She was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 and, as a result, was left paralyzed from the waist down. As she recovered, Kalkman-van den Bosch revised her dreams to be fitting of her life as a wheelchair user.
Kalkman-van den Bosch first embraced table tennis, because wheelchair tennis was still in its early years of development and had not been established in Europe. In 1984 she became a Paralympic Gold medalist in table tennis, and then switched her focus to wheelchair tennis in 1986. From 1992 to 1996, Kalkman-van den Bosch won four Paralympic medals in wheelchair tennis, three of them being Gold medals. She is the first and only female athlete to win Paralympic Gold medals in two different individual sports (tennis and table tennis).
Upon learning of her Hall of Fame induction, Kalkman-van den Bosch stated, “It’s such a great honor. To have wheelchair tennis celebrated on such a global stage is tremendous, and for my name and my career to be part of that celebration and to be forever remembered as part of tennis history is just a great, great honor.
She continued, “I think the work that the Hall of Fame does, along with the ITF, to celebrate wheelchair tennis is incredibly important. When a person is first injured in a life-changing manner, such as paralysis, there are not obvious role models for them to admire or emulate. By celebrating and promoting wheelchair tennis through the Hall of Fame, we are offering encouragement for recently injured people. It’s important for these people to understand what can be possible for them in their new situations, and I’m so grateful to be part of this.”