Two-time Grand Slam champions Li Na and Mary Pierce were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday.
WTA Staff
July 20, 2019

NEWPORT, Rhode Island - Already tennis champions, Li Na and Mary Pierce can now stand aside the sport's all-time greats.

The pair of two-time Grand Slam winners were inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday night as a part of the class of 2019.

They were joined Russian Yevgeny Kafenikov, who won two Grand Slam singles titles and reached the World No.1 ranking on the ATP tour.

In photos: Li Na, Mary Pierce enshrined: The 2019 International Tennis Hall of Fame induction

Pierce was introduced by former coach  Nick Bollettieri, while Li Na was welcomed into the Hall of Fame by longitme agent Max Eisenbud of IMG.

"Mary, you see, is much more than a great tennis champion. Her credentials speak loud and clear," said Bollettieri.

"The first time I saw Mary...was when she was 13 years old. She had a naturally powerful and aggressive game from the baseline. I knew she was very talented, and had a lot of potential. 

"Mary understood my heart and goals for her. She proved she had the physical talent, mental determination and willingness to sacrifice whatever it took...on court.

"She's an angel. She has an incredibly warm and tender heart, and she has one mission in life: 'How can I help you achieve your goals?' [She] will always be part of my life...and helping people achieve their goals as you achieve your goals."


"This day has finally arrived. I've been waiting for this for six months since it was announced in January," Pierce said. 

"Tennis has taught me so much in life. It's a great teacher. Anything you want to achieve doesn't come easy. 

"The great dreams that I had in tennis...to achieve them, I always felt I gave 100 percent of myself. Dreams are like fuel, and my dream was to one day win the French Open.

"It was my ultimate dream in tennis and it came true. Winning the doubles with Martina Hingis was like the cherry on top...I would never be up here if it wasn't for everyone who helped me on this road, on and off the court."

Rounding out the night was Li, who gave her speech to close out the first-ever evening induction ceremony.

"We all know that to make it into the Hall of Fame, you have to be an accomplished tennis player. Most inpressive about Li Na, is that [she's] been a true pioneer: not just for tennis, not just for women, but for all of China," said Eisenbud. 

Read more: 'After I won, girls think they can do the same' - Li Na hails WTA Finals move to Shenzhen

"There was no Chinese [Michael] Jordan, Edberg or Federer. She was part of a system that had never produced a female tennis player ranked in the Top 70.

"She overcame every hurdle in front of her, and nothing was going to stop this amazing woman from becoming a champion.

"I believe Li Na is a maverick who's been carrying Billie Jean King's legacy in China for the next generation. She wasn't afraid to be outspoken. She wasn't afraid to stand up for her beliefs. Li Na brought about social change and transcended her sport."


"This means, for me, everything. My name is Li Na from China. Li Na is a common name in China. I did not choose this. I started playing tennis when I was eight. My mom chose it for me...and during this time, I hated tennis because during school...I had no time to play with my friends," Li said.

"When the time went by, I really enjoyed this amazing sport. Tennis has taken me around the world, exploring different countries because of this great sport. 

"In the future, I will do all I can to inspire, to help more young and upcoming players in the hope that they can enjoy this amazing sport."