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July 22, 2017
Newport, Rhode Island
STAN SMITH: ‑‑ whether he is analyzing the most impactful moments or recalling statistics. Many of the game's greatest champions have been known to defer to Flink when questions on a stat of their own personal history.
Today the Hall of Famer Chris Evert will present Steve for his induction.
For her eloquence, wheelchair tennis, today we induct Monique Kalkman van den Bosch of the Netherlands. Monique was a talented and competitive junior player from an early age. She bravely faced cancer at age 14 which left her paralyzed from the waist down. Monique has revised her dream to fitting her life as a wheelchair user.
She first embraced table tennis because wheelchair tennis was still in its early years of development. In 1984, she became a Paralympic gold medalist in table tennis, then switched her focus to wheelchair tennis.
From 1992 to 1996, Monique 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 individual sports, tennis and table tennis.
In addition to her success, the Paralympic, Monique, was the ITF wheelchair tennis world champion four times, and she was an eight‑time singles champion in world and super series events.
Today Monique is an advocate for wheelchair tennis and works for the largest supplier of equipment for people with disabilities in The Netherlands.
Marc Kalkman, who is Monique's husband and coach, will present her today.
It is a pleasure to welcome former No.1 singles and doubles Kim Clijsters to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Kim is one of the six women in history to simultaneously top the world rankings in both singles and doubles. She was the world No.1 player for 19 weeks, and was ranked within the top five for 250 weeks during her career.
Bolstered by a powerful baseline game and remarkable defensive skills on the court, Kim won four Grand Slam tournaments in singles and 41 career titles overall. She is a three‑time US Open champion and was also the 2011 Australian Open champion. She also won doubles titles at Wimbledon and the French Open.
Kim has been 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.
Kim retired from tennis in 2007, and then embarked on a second career in tennis with a comeback in 2009 after the birth of their first child. That year she went on to win the US Open in what was just the third tournament back on the tour. She was unranked, unseeded, and a wild card entry into the event.
Two years later, 2011, she once again reached the world No.1 ranking, five years after she had been there before.
Since retirement, Kim, who is now a mother of three, has been focused on her family. She remains engaged with tennis with the Kim Clijsters Academy in Belgium where many juniors train.
Last but not least, it's a pleasure to welcome American great Andy Roddick to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Andy was the No.1 player in the world in 2003, and he finished the season in the top 10 of the ATP rankings for nine straight years from 2002 to 2010.
Andy held rankings inside the world's top five for 187 weeks during the course of his career. In 2003, Roddick defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero to win the US Open title, closing out the match with three straight aces ‑ not usual. He returned to the finals in 2006. He's also a three‑time finalist at Wimbledon. There was a guy in his way named Roger something.
In all, Andy won 32 singles titles over the course of his career. He was a dedicated team member of the United States Davis Cup team for ten years and a mentor to many Americans coming up behind him. In 2007, he was instrumental in leading the U.S. to defeat Russia for the 32nd Davis Cup victory.
Today Andy's work is focused on the Andy Roddick Foundation, a non‑profit that is dedicated to offering enrichment programs for kids outside the classroom, to provide growth opportunities, literacy, art and sports. He will be introduced today by his long‑time trainer, Doug Spreen.
Congratulations to the inductees.
I'd like to get started by asking Monique, what does this honor mean to you?
MONIQUE KALKMAN van den BOSCH: Oh, it's an incredible feeling to be here. This place is breathing history and culture of the sport. It holds the greatest names, the greatest memories of the whole sport. To become a part of that is awesome. It's unbelievable. Beyond words.
STAN SMITH: Steve, you're not a player, but you're one of the greatest journalists and historians of the game, what does this mean to you?
STEVE FLINK: You don't take it for granted if you're in my shoes. You look at Andy, Kim and Monique, their prodigious accomplishments. How can we deny players of this stature going into the International Tennis Hall of Fame?
It's a much larger judgment call for me. It makes me enormously grateful that the voters chose to put me in this year.
I would echo what Monique just said. It's almost beyond words. I'm paid to do that for a living. I don't really have those words. I'll try to convey them on court, but I'm very gratified.
STAN SMITH: How about you, Kim?
KIM CLIJSTERS: Well, I'm very, very honored to be sitting here and to be here in Newport. I've seen a lot of pictures of this place and videos of this place. To actually be here in person makes it a lot more special.
You feel the history. You feel how unique being a Hall of Famer is. I'm very excited that I get to share this opportunity with everybody here, with my family, with my friends that came over.
STAN SMITH: What did you think of the museum when you went through it?
KIM CLIJSTERS: I actually got emotional. For me, it's almost like your childhood and your whole life kind of flashes through your head.
I see Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, players I admired when I was a little girl coming out of school, watching the French Open, seeing them hold trophies up. A few meters forward, there's my picture.
So, yeah, it's very humbling. But I'm just trying to take it all in.
STAN SMITH: And Andy, I remember hitting with you at the US Open when you were 16 years old, a scrawny little kid. I had no idea you would be such a great player. What do you think about the Hall of Fame?
ANDY RODDICK: I've been asked that question for six months now. I don't know that I've been able to express it accurately, what it means to me, how it kind of fills my heart to be here amongst all of you, to spend time with Monique, Steve‑‑ Kim and I have known each other, we counted backwards, over 20 years now. So to be in with her is a really, really special thing.
To echo Steve, I think we'll all try to convey as best we can this morning. You hope you can do it justice, what it actually means to you on the inside. The fact that it's voted on by esteemed journalists and your peers is something that couldn't mean more to me.
STAN SMITH: We appreciate those comments. We'd like to open it up to the press now for any questions you might have of any of the four.
Q. (No microphone.)
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, it's great. I actually came last year for the first time. I was here with the PowerShares event we're playing tomorrow. I played it last year as well. Todd Martin was gracious enough to give me a private tour of the museum.
Somewhat like what Kim said, I'm a massive tennis nerd from seven years old. I probably don't know as much as Steve (laughter). It was such a huge part of my life, kind of shaped the way I viewed a lot of different things.
To kind of walk through and see Arthur's racquet from 1975 Wimbledon or Rod Laver's shoes from '69 at Forest Hills. Those things are a huge deal. To be a part of that in a small way, to be part of the Hall of Fame fraternity is probably something that I don't know if it will ever be real to me. I know it's happening. I know it's going to go down today. I don't know that it will ever feel like real life.
Q. (No microphone.)
STAN SMITH: Well, we had to build a new hotel for the Roddick contingent, but I think they've all been accounted for.
ANDY RODDICK: To be fair, they're all shocked I got in, so they had to make the most of it (laughter).
STAN SMITH: How much did your brother help you along the way?
ANDY RODDICK: Mention it a little bit in the speech today. Those huge hurdles, you go to a US Open or a Grand Slam for the first time, it's overwhelming. My brother was a good junior player. I almost got a peek behind the curtain before I actually had to go do it myself. I think that's invaluable.
He's here today. He didn't play professional tennis, but he was a really good college player. So I think it's a team effort. I think he'll be really happy today also.
STAN SMITH: And Kim, as a mother, coming back, playing a couple tournaments before the US Open, what was that like? Did you expect to win that tournament?
KIM CLIJSTERS: No, not at all. I actually just decided to play a couple tournaments in '09 because I didn't want 2010 to start off not knowing what it's like to travel with a baby, how am I feeling playing matches again. So we decided to go to my favorite part of the tennis season, the hard courts in the States.
Yeah, two tournaments into it, I felt every match I was getting a little bit better. But nothing close to thinking that I was going to win the US Open. So it was an extremely crazy rollercoaster of emotions. My father passed away that year, six months before that. Having Jada the year before, it was crazy.
All of a sudden, it's like when you play a Grand Slam, at least for me, I'm in a bubble. I try not to let any emotions really get to me. Then when it's finished, it all hit me. It was too much to take in and very confusing at times. But at the same time you also want to take it in. You want to really live those deep emotions.
So it's very unique. It's experiences I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
STAN SMITH: Monique, The Netherlands has a great history, although a short history, of great wheelchair players. What is the reason for that?
MONIQUE KALKMAN van den BOSCH: I think we got inspired by the Americans at a very early age. At that point we had four players who had already been good, able‑bodied players. We could make that switch very easily to wheelchair tennis. That was a good kick start.
Of course, we're a very tiny country. We continued to work, play and practice with each other. There's a really good program being kicked off in the first couple years by the tennis association. The program, the infrastructure, the early good players helped the next generation, yeah, to go forward.
I think in that respect, yeah, we're also very lucky. There's a lot of other countries coming, and wheelchair tennis is spreading across the world really quickly. Other countries are catching up really, really well, yeah. Japan, China are good.
Q. Steve, single best match you ever saw? Not the score, but every single point.
STEVE FLINK: I suspect Andy might agree with me on this one. I have to go with Nadal and Federer in the 2008 Wimbledon final because they were playing for the third year in a row the finals of Wimbledon, having come off three French Open finals in a row. You have the two players that are the dominant figures, frankly they are again today.
I thought under the conditions, windy, cold, not an easy day to play great tennis, it was phenomenal. The first two sets went to Rafa pretty convincingly 4‑4. You wanted scores, you got 'em (laughter).
Then it looked as if Rafa might pull it off in straight. He had some breakpoints in a third set. Love‑40, didn't convert. Loses a tiebreak. We go to a fourth‑set tiebreak. Two match points for Rafael Nadal. Federer denies them. We go all the way to 9‑7 in the fifth, 9:16 in the evening.
Maybe I'm selfish, I called it live on CBS Radio, to have the good fortune to time it for the 9:15, back in New York the 4:15 news, let the guy give me a little extra time to call it. To this day I maintain it was the best I've ever seen.
STAN SMITH: I knew Vic very, very well. We did some projects together, he and Arthur and I. He was one of the great motivators. Certainly in sports science, nobody like him. He went back to Jack Kramer and the whole start of professional tennis. Involved in so many different facets of the game.
Q. (No microphone.)
ANDY RODDICK: The what‑if game never ends. It's a battle in futility at this point. A lot gets made of that. That's happened throughout sports. What would Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, what would those guys do? It doesn't mean they're not good players.
I think that Roger guy is going to be a good player someday (laughter). I think you guys are going to have a tough call whether he gets in here someday. We'll see. I might vote against him (laughter). I get to vote now, don't I?
STAN SMITH: You do have a vote.
ANDY RODDICK: I will say, and I want to give Roger credit, I've said it before, he makes it extremely hard not to like him as a person. First text I had when I woke up this morning was from Roger Federer. He's just a great human.
Q. (No microphone.)
STEVE FLINK: You want me to go back to the first Grand Slam event?
Changed my life forever because it was 1965, Wimbledon. I'd never been to a major. I'd never been to any tournaments. My father took me out to Wimbledon just on a lark. He loved tennis. He loved to play. But this was sort of to introduce me to an important cultural event in Great Britain where he was working at the time.
But I just went out and watched a match on Court 3 between Osuna, Rafael Osuna, the '63 U.S. champion, playing against Wilhelm Bungert, a German player. So this was not an extraordinary match. It did alter my life.
From that day forward, I followed everything in the newspapers, watched any chance I got, went to Forest Hills later in the summer. I was very much immersed and hooked on tennis.
I look back to that day in '65 and appreciate it.
KIM CLIJSTERS: To be honest, I was never really a player who focused on the statistics. I just loved playing tennis. I tried to make the best out of every tournament that I played, whether I was playing a small tournament or whether I was playing a Grand Slam, singles, doubles, mixed doubles. I tried to give it my all every type I stepped out on court.
Then, you know, you sit here, I hear Stan go through my résumé or whatever you call it, and it's very, very special. But when I played, I never thought about it.
STAN SMITH: One thing about Kim was from all the comments I had from different women, she was like Roy Emerson, she beat the brains out of all these other women, but they liked her so much. Roger Federer is like that, too.
Q. (No microphone.)
ANDY RODDICK: I'm actually having buyer's remorse, what was it, July 22nd? Should have known that. I didn't.
It's funny. It's a short amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but it feels like a lifetime in between. The first tournament, you're an 18‑year‑old wild card. Every match you win, it feels like a Wimbledon final, right?
Then at the end, you fast forward, you're struggling a little bit with injuries. You kind of use Atlanta for a different reason. I needed to find some form before going to the US Open. I wanted to win one more tournament before I quit. No, I'm joking (laughter).
I didn't know the connectivity between the two dates. But it's funny how you view them through different lenses just because of the career that takes place in between them.
STAN SMITH: Andy, I heard the semifinals you got some rain delays. People stayed to the finish of your match. You offered to buy them all tickets to the finals?
ANDY RODDICK: It was either tickets or Waffle House, maybe both, I don't know. I wasn't real good with finances then, Stan (laughter).
STAN SMITH: That was the moment I thought that Andy was going to be special.
Q. (No microphone.)
ANDY RODDICK: You first (laughter).
We were out in Los Angeles with my wife, she was working. I was with my son Hank. He pointed and said, Daddy, daddy, truck shirt. So he chose the shirt today.
Q. (No microphone.)
KIM CLIJSTERS: I'm not (laughter).
ANDY RODDICK: No.
Q. (No microphone.)
KIM CLIJSTERS: I have a lot of goals, they're maybe not as much tennis‑related. I want to learn how to cook better (laughter).
ANDY RODDICK: I was saying yesterday with Hank, we're four seasons into Paw Patrol, so I'm hoping to get through seven by the end of summer.
MONIQUE KALKMAN van den BOSCH: After my tennis career, I started to work to lot. I didn't play much tennis any more. Then after ten years, I had some injuries. I had to play sports again. I chose golf. Fit the age, but also the physical situation.
I really set my goal now to help golf to become a great sport for people with disabilities, as well, like it is with tennis. I mean, wheelchair tennis is so well integrated into the sport. It's the reason that we're here. The fact that wheelchair tennis is part of all the Grand Slams, it's fantastic. Better than in any other sport.
In golf, we can learn a lot from tennis. So that's one of my goals now.
STAN SMITH: Steve, are you going to be writing till what age?
STEVE FLINK: 75. I don't know. I'd love to do it a lot longer. I'm 65 now. Bud Collins went into his 80s. I'd like to believe I could replicate that.
STAN SMITH: I want to congratulate, on behalf of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the four of you, and Vic as well, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame today. It will be a special day. We have a great induction ceremony out there that I hope you'll all appreciate. We look forward to it in about an hour from now. Thank you all for coming out.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports