On July 20, at the 2019 International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held in Newport, Rhode Island, USA retired Chinese tennis star Li Na was officially inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, becoming the first Asian player to receive this honor.
Born in 1982 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Li Na began playing tennis at the age of 8 and over her illustrious career won two Grand Slam Singles titles. When she won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2011, nearly 116 million Chinese people watched the match. Her tennis achievements and personality helped the sport grow more popular in China. In 2014, Li Na announced her retirement from the sport.
According to the rules of the Tennis Hall of Fame, a player is only eligible for candidacy 5 years after retirement. Since the 2018 class were inducted, the voting process is now consisted of official Voting Groups, which are comprised of members of the tennis media, experts on the sport and history, current Hall of Famers, and a Fan Voting component, from which Li Na received the highest number of fan votes.
“We all know to make it into the Hall of Fame, you have to be an accomplished tennis player,” said Max Eisenbud, Li Na’s longtime agent who introduced her at the ceremony. “Li Na, you've been a great tennis player and an amazing champion. What I admire and I think most impressive about you is that you've been a true pioneer, not just for tennis, not just for women, but for all of China.
Proofread by Raymond Fitzpatrick