Will Yevgeny Kafelnikov Ever Get Into The Tennis Hall Of Fame?
by Staff | July 12th, 2014, 2:57 pm

The Class of 2014 will enter the Tennis Hall of Fame today led by former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport. Joining the American are 5-time Paralympic medalist Chantal Vandierendonck; tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who has guided 10 players to world No. 1 status; Jane Brown Grimes, who has held executive leadership roles with the WTA, USTA, and the International Tennis Hall of Fame; and British tennis broadcaster and author John Barrett.

And each is deserving of the special honor.

But as players like Davenport – who won three singles Grand Slam titles during her career – enter the Hall, many worthy former greats of the game still sit, hoping upon hope to one day make it in.

There’s 2-time French Open champion Sergi Bruguera, a longshot like his countryman Carlos Moya. Hard-headed lefties Thomas Muster and Marcelo Rios who both reached No. 1 but because of their rifts with the tours and lack of charm may never get in.

And then there’s the case of Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Yevgeny was far from a media darling. And being a Russian (there are none in the Hall!) who liked to gamble won’t help him much either in the Hall’s eyes. So off the court maybe Kafelnikov wasn’t the most amenable guy, but on the court he put up comparable if not far better numbers than inductees like Michael Chang, Yannick Noah and even Patrick Rafter (not to mention Jana Novotna or Gabriela Sabatini):

at No. 1
Years In
Top 5
Kafelnikov 2 4 6 1 1 26 27 5
Chang 1 0 0 0 1 34 0 4
Rafter 2 1 1 0 0 11 10 2
Noah 1 0 0 0 0 23 16 1

Kafelnikov’s fate continues to rest in the hands of tennis writers who’ll need to agree with a 75% vote to induct him in. But he’s already been passed over seven times since hanging it up in 2003 and with Justin Henin, Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick and his countryman Marat Safin sure to go in the next 3-4 years, he may have to wait longer. Hopefully, though, Todd Martin, the new head of the Hall of Fame and a former Kafelnikov contemporary, can do what’s right for the game and for the Hall and make an internal push for Yevgeny.

Like him or not, Kafelnikov deserves to be in.

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20 Comments for Will Yevgeny Kafelnikov Ever Get Into The Tennis Hall Of Fame?

Peep Says:

It should be on the court performance that determines it not country

Eric Says:

Chang is in the HoF but not Kafelnikov? Ridiculous.

Eric Says:

Anyone who won more than a single slam should be a shoe-in if people like Chang and Noah have been inducted. But I guess when you are Russian and you humiliated the 90s American tennis darling the only time he bothered to try to do well at the French Open, Americans aren’t going to vote you into a Hall of Fame any time soon.

Good thing no one cares.

skeezer Says:

Love the last sentence here. Fed will be a sure lock.

“Competitors in the sport who have been retired for at least 20 years prior to consideration.
A distinguished record of competitive achievement at the highest international level, with consideration given to integrity, sportsmanship and character.”


Okiegal Says:

I thought I had of heard of every tennis player, but don’t know of this guy. What years did he play? Curious…..but as per Skeezers suggestion once upon a time……I can always go to WIKI for info!

jk31 Says:

Kafelnikov was 5-1 v. Courier, 4-0 v. Chang, 3-2 v. Rafter, 1-0 v. Cash. He was remarkable for his stamina (as well as his handsome blond good looks), regularly playing singles and doubles long after the time of John McEnroe. In 1996 he won the RG singles and doubles championships.
I doubt whether many tennis players and fans outside the USA care much about the Newport Hall of Fame, if they have even heard of it.

skeezer Says:

^if you cared to look at the players that are in the HOF you may not be so quick to judge USA. However, it is a mystery that Kafelnikov is not in. Maybe he will be soon?

jane Says:

peep i agree. hopefully yevgeny will be acknowledged.

roy Says:

”Chang is in the HoF but not Kafelnikov? Ridiculous.”

he’s not a white man.
special privileges under marxist politics.

Alexandra Says:

He surely deserves to get his place. I don’t really understand why he doesn’t have his place yet. If you are cynical you could say being russian is a main reason. Certainly there are no sport reasons.

Giles Says:

Rafa on a screen at the Tennis Hall of Fame.

Colin Says:

Roy – “Marxist politics”? In the US of A?

What in the name of sanity are you burbling about?
You’r probably one of those who call Obamah a socialist, when he’s about as left-wing as Margaret Thatcher.

Colin Says:


Okiegal Says:

@Colin 5:28

I don’t understand Roy either…..he is always saying something about “black” as opposed to “white”…….a bit racist imo. He made a very derogatory comment on another thread the other day, thank goodness it was removed by the moderators. This is no place for rude comments regarding race.

TennisVagabond.com Says:

None of those small-stars, Chang, Noah, Rafter OR Kafelnikov should be in a HOF.

But certainly Kafelnikov deserves to be in more than those others– Muster even more so.

RZ Says:

Another reason to consider Kafelnikov for HOF induction: He may be the only tennis player to have an episode of a TV show (Sports Night) named after him. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0707431/

SG1 Says:

Kaf’s a Hall of Famer. 26 ATP tour wins, a gold medal and two slams. It’s not Federer, Nadal or Sampras greatness, but it’s a great career. Not the prettiest game to be sure, but effective.

SG1 Says:

Sampras owned Kaf…except for that one match in Paris he’d like to have back in ’96.

Humble Rafa Says:

If this forum voted, Humble will never be in the Hall and the Arrogant One will be voted every year because they these folks like seeing the same thing.

Mentalist Says:

Yup. It’s a joke that a one-Slammer like Chang, who never even reached No.1 in his career, superceded Kafelnikov, former world No.1, 2 singles & 4 doubles Grand Slam, Olympic gold winner, first ever Russian to win a Grand Slam singles title, first guy to win both singles and doubles in the same GS since Ken Roswell in 1968, and remains the last guy to win singles and doubles in the same GS (’96 French – all the way back in 1996!!!). So, I’d really like to know the logic behind Chang being inducted and YK not.


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