(Reuters) - The International Tennis Hall of Fame has made changes to its induction policies, including a fan vote and automatic ballot inclusion for players who met certain criteria during their careers, it announced on Wednesday.
Rather than needing approval from a nominating committee, players will appear on the ballot starting with the Class of 2018 if they have won five major singles titles or three major singles titles with at least 13 weeks as world number one.
In doubles, a player must have 12 major doubles titles and have been world number one for a minimum of 52 weeks, or have won 15 majors to get automatic inclusion.
Players who do not meet the criteria for automatic ballot inclusion are still eligible for induction starting five years after retirement and will be assessed by the nominating committee as in previous years.
Beginning with the Class of 2019, the Hall of Fame also plans to introduce a fan voting component to the process.
Fan voting will be in addition to existing voting groups, which are comprised of members of the tennis media, experts on the sport and its history, and Hall of Famers.
Among the other changes, the wheelchair and contributor categories will be open every four years, instead of annually.
Hall of Fame chief executive Todd Martin said that while the induction process guidelines have been suitable it was time for a thorough review to ensure policies continue to appropriately direct the induction process.
“We are confident that these amendments will ensure that the sport continues to have its most accomplished individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Martin said in a statement.
Former world number one players Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick headlined the Hall of Fame’s list of 2017 inductees and will be enshrined on July 22.
Clijsters won four grand slam titles and was the world’s number one player for 19 weeks while Roddick won his only grand slam title at the 2003 U.S. Open and held the world number one ranking for 13 weeks.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris