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Connors, Chris Evert to be honoured
- The six chosen represent ‘best of best’ in 122-year history

New York: Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert, who combined for 11 US Open titles, were among six players selected on Tuesday as the inaugural inductees into the US Open Court of Champions. Connors and Evert will be joined by Billie Jean King, Rod Laver, Bill Tilden and Helen Wills.

“These great champions represent the best of the best in the 122-year history of what has become one of the top sporting events in the world,” said Alen Kantarian, chief executive of professional tennis for the USTA. “The on-court induction ceremonies during finals weekend will be a very special moment in us open history.”

Connors and Evert were chosen as inductees from the Open Era (post-1968), while King and Laver were selected from the Open-Golden Era and Tilden and Wills are representatives of the Golden Era.

Connors captured the US Open in 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983 and is the only player to win the tournament on three different surfaces. He owns US Open records for matches (115) and match wins (98), also winning a doubles title at this event in 1975.

Evert reached the semi-finals at Forest Hills and Flushing Meadow a record 16 consecutive years (1971-86), winning championships each year from 1975-78 and in 1980 and 1982. She holds tournament records for match wins (101) and matches played by a woman (113).

King won the title as an amateur in 1967 and as a professional in 1971, 1972 and 1974. She was the driving force behind the USTA’s decision to offer equal prize money to men and women at the 1973 Open.

Like King, Laver captured the Open as an amateur (1962) and a professional (1969), clinching the vaunted Grand Slam with each victory. The Australian lefthander reached the semi-finals four times in 11 US Championships/US Open appearances.

Tilden won a record 16 US Championship crowns, capturing seven men’s singles titles (1920-25, 1929). He also claimed five men’s doubles championships and four mixed doubles titles. Wills reached the US Championship finals in each of her nine appearances, winning the tournament seven times. From 1927-33, she won a record 45 consecutive singles matches and her 9.62 career-winning per centage at this tournament remains the highest ever.

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