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Gimeno, Dell, Seles Elected To Hall of Fame

Spaniard Andres Gimeno was two months shy of 35 when he won at Roland Garros in 1972.AFP/Getty ImagesSpaniard Andres Gimeno was two months shy of 35 when he won at Roland Garros in 1972.

Former Roland Garros champion Andres Gimeno, Association of Tennis Professionals co-founder Donald Dell, nine-time Grand Slam champion Monica Seles and tennis pioneer Robert Johnson have been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island. The induction ceremony will take place on July 11.

Gimeno, elected in the Masters Player category, still holds the record for being the oldest Roland Garros champion. The Spaniard was two months shy of 35 when he won at Roland Garros in 1972. He was also the runner-up to Rod Laver at the Australian Open in 1969 — Laver would go on to win all four Grand Slam titles that year — and reached a career-best No. 9 in the South African African Airways ATP Rankings.

Dell and Johnson were both chosen in the Contributor category.

As a player, Dell was on the U.S. Davis Cup team in the early 1960s. As a non-playing captain, he led the country to the Davis Cup title in 1968 and 1969. His biggest impact on tennis, though, came in marketing and business: He was the first person to manage tennis players' careers, served as the ATP's first general counsel for eight years and is a founder of Washington's Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

Johnson (1899-1971) is credited with helping launch the careers of Grand Slam title winners Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson. "It was Johnson's vision and innovative groundwork that gave Gibson and Ashe — and all future black champions — the training ground and road map to succeed," the International Tennis Hall of Fame said in its announcement of the inductees.

Seles, who leads in the Induction Class of 2009, won 53 career singles titles including four trophies at the Australian Open, three at Roland Garros and two crowns at the US Open. She first rose to No. 1 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings in 1991, when she was 17 — at the time, the youngest woman to have topped the rankings. By the time she was 19, Seles had already won eight major championships.

But in April 1993, at the height of her success, she was attacked by a man who climbed out of the stands at a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. Seles returned to the game 27 months later and immediately reached the 1995 U.S. Open final. Her final Grand Slam title came at the 1996 Australian Open; she would go on to reach two more major finals. Hampered by an injured left foot, she played her last match at the 2003 French Open at age of 29.

 

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