A new ground has been broken by I NA at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The 37 years old former tennis star from China has become the first Asian player to have been inducted in the Tennis Hall of Fame on this Saturday.
She was inducted alongside other big names like Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia and France’s Mary Pierce in a lengthy on-court ceremony that was followed by the semi-finals match of the Hall of Fame Open.
Li is the first-ever Asian born player to have won a Grand Slam tournament after she won the 2011’s French Open that had been seen by a record 116 million viewers in her home country.
She said to the crowd, “I started playing tennis when I was about 8 years old but at that time I hated it. Not bad now I guess I am standing here right now.”
She then also went on to win the 2014’s Australian Open and also became its runner up for 2 years.
Pierce, as she fought her tears during her 29 minutes long speech, “the goal is only as much worth it as the effort required to achieve it.”
As for the 45 years old Kafelnikov was described as one of the most dominant Russian player in his tennis generation on his plaque. Kafelnikov won the 1996’s French Open and the 1999’s Australian Open.
Kafelnikov said, “I know what it truly means to be a Hall of Famer and I will carry this responsibility for the rest of my life and I hope to not disappoint you.”
44-year-old Pierce lived her dream by playing in the French Open. She actually did a little more than that, she actually went on to win it back in 2000 and also won the Australian Open back in 2014.
She said, “After watching the French Open as a young girl on TV, it was my dream to play in it one day. Then to actually being able to win it, it was a dream come true for me.”