International Tennis Hall of Fame Fan Voting – It is an Idea

Multipliers or Matches

I would not call it a good idea.  Four candidates were put out there and the top 3 each get a boost toward enshrinement.  Goran Ivanisevic will get the largest boost with Conchita Martinez getting 2/3rds of Goran’s boost, and Jonas Bjorkman getting 1/3 of the boost.

Poor Sergi Bruguera gets no boost.  Of the four, Burguera is the only one with multiple major singles titles.  He won Roland Garros in 1993 and 1994 and also posted a semifinal finish in 1995 and runner-up finish in 1997.  Those are not Nadal Numbers but going 26-3 at a major over a 5-year period is nothing to undervalue.  Beyond that Bruguera won a Silver Medal at the 1996 Olympic Games on a hard court.

This is not to say that Bruguera deserved a bonus more than Goran Ivanisevic.  Goran and Bruguera each had a major they excelled at, but Goran was better in the other 3 majors reaching the quarters or better at each slam.  Goran like Burguera won 2 Masters 1000/Masters Series/Super 9 titles but reached more finals than his Spanish counterpart.  Goran won Bronze Medal in both Singles and Doubles at the 1992 Olympic games and was a two-time French Open doubles runner-up.  Goran also reached 4 major singles finals instead of 3 for Bruguera and topped out at #2 in the rankings instead of Bruguera’s #3.

Fine Lines Separate Them

If we are to prioritize singles over doubles, and I do, then Bruguera and Goran are the two best male Hall of Fame candidates in this pool.  Even the biggest Jonas Bjorkman fan would have to say in singles that he is not even close to the career hauls of Bruguera and Ivanisevic.

Goran has most categories slightly in his favor vs. Bruguera, but Bruguera has the 2-1 lead in major titles.  One can easily imagine Ivanisevic winning Wimbledon in 1992 or 1998 in which he lost 5-set thrillers (he also lost a 1995 5-set semifinal showdown with Pete Sampras).  Yet, Bruguera won the 1993 French Open final over Jim Courier in 5-sets dethroning a man on a 20-match winning streak at Roland Garros.  He backed that title up with another Roland Garros win.  The margins are small.

It is easy to like Jonas Bjorkman, but …

The Multiplier is BIG

Goran’s vote total from the committee will be multiplied by 1.03 while Bruguera will have no multiplier.  That could be the difference between being enshrined and not.  Bruguera was on the fan ballot with another Spaniard.  If a WTA player from Croatia were on the fan ballot (Iva Majoli?) instead of Spain’s Conchita Martinez, maybe Bruguera would be getting a multiplier of some sort.  I am all for involving fans, but I am not sure this is the best way to do so.

I have loved my visits to the International Hall of Fame.  I have also become increasingly convinced that the matches won and lost on the court matter a lot more than honors conferred by vote.

PS – What will Super Coaches Mean?

Goran Ivanisevic was in the coaching booth for Marin Cilic’s 2014 US Open triumph and Novak Djokovic’s 2019 Wimbledon title run.  Carlos Moya has been the coach for 5 of Rafa’s 19 major titles.  If one adds Moya and Ivanisevic’s coaching credentials to their playing accomplishments, enshrinement might be assured.  For now, coaching and playing accomplishments do not seem to be combined when candidates are considered.

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