Li Na heads to Tennis Hall of Fame

Li Na Mary Pierce and Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Li Na Mary Pierce and Yevgeny Kafelnikov

Li was joined by Mary Pierce and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the hall's Class of 2019, which was announced Monday at the Australian Open. He is the first Russian tennis player to have won a Grand Slam singles title and the last man to have won both the singles and doubles titles at the same Grand Slam tournament.

"I'm incredibly honored to become a Hall of Famer".

Kafelnikov won the 1996 French Open and 1999 Australian Open, while Pierce was the champion at the 1995 Australian Open and 2000 French Open.

"We look forward to celebrating Li Na, along with Mary Pierce and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and welcoming them as Hall of Famers in Newport in July".

In becoming Hall of Famers, Na, Pierce, and Kafelnikov join an elite group of just over 250 individuals hailing from 23 nations who have received the honour, which recognises their careers as being among the most accomplished and impactful in the history of tennis. Her career accomplishments, combined with her engaging personality, resulted in a transformative effect on the popularity of tennis in China, where more than 116 million people tuned in to watch her French Open final.

Such approaches are not uncommon for Tennis Australia, which "recruited" Daria Gavrilova as a teenager - she represented Russian Federation until 2015 - while Ajla Tomljanovic became an Australian citizen in 2018 and is ranked in the 40s.

"I think the Hall of Fame is not just a body that recognizes the greats of the game, it's the steward of the history of our sport", Martin said. Chinese two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na (left) talks with with India's Sania Mirza taking part in 2017 WTA Wuhan Open at Zhongshan Avenue, a historical and cultural avenue in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, on Sept 25, 2017. This is not a year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame's other two categories - Contributor and Wheelchair. The three are being inducted in the Player Category.

The hall selection process included a fan vote for the first time, via online balloting.

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