WUHAN, China – Li Na’s induction to the International Tennis Hall of Fame was celebrated at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Sunday as the legendary Chinese player was the subject of a special ceremony to commemorate her achievement.
The former WTA World No.2 became the first player from China – male or female – to taste Grand Slam success as she won the 2011 French Open. She then replicated this in Australia in 2014, cementing her status as the country’s greatest ever player.
Li blazed a trail that many others have since followed, with four Chinese players in the Top 50 of the latest WTA Rankings.
But they are yet to emulate the success that the 37-year-old achieved during a playing career that spanned 15 years and saw her win over 500 singles matches on the WTA Tour.
Her induction into the International Tennis Hall of fame this year means that she is the first Asian-born player to receive this honor.
As such, she was the subject of a special ceremony in her hometown of Wuhan during Sunday’s action.
She was presented with a framed photograph commemorating her achievement and was hailed by her home crowd.
In discussion with the media, she revealed that she has no plans to return to the Tour, just as contemporary Kim Clijsters recently announced.
“I’m 100% staying at home,” she said. “It's much easier, less pressure. At least at home you're doing something and nobody knows. But on the tennis court, if you smash your racquet, the whole world knows.”
Li retired in September 2014 and is widely credited for sparking a major growth in interest in tennis not just in China, but in East Asia.