Chinese tennis great Li Na and France’s Mary Pierce, each a two-time Grand Slam singles champion among their many career accolades, are the latest WTA stars to have been elected to receive tennis’ ultimate honor in 2019 – induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Li Na, China’s first global tennis star, reached the world No. 2 ranking and was a champion at both the French Open and the Australian Open.
“I’m incredibly honored to become a Hall of Famer,” she said in a statement. “I love tennis and am grateful for all the opportunity it has provided me. I have loved seeing the sport grow in China and I’m proud to be part of that history. To have my career and China’s growing tennis history be recognized at the International Tennis Hall of Fame is a great honor and I’m humbled and grateful. I look forward to the celebration in Newport this year and to becoming a Hall of Famer.”
Pierce is a former world No. 3 in singles and doubles, and four-time major champion, having won a singles title at the Australian Open, singles and doubles titles at Roland-Garros, and a mixed doubles title at Wimbledon.
“To be recognized alongside some of the most accomplished, inspiring people in our sport is a huge honor,” remarked Pierce. “It’s humbling and gratifying, and I’m thrilled to become part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.”
The new inductees, which also includes former ATP World No.1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov, will be celebrated on Tuesday, January 24 in a special ceremony in Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open, joined by many other Hall of Fame tennis legends who will gather to welcome them for the first time as Hall of Fame inductees. The ceremony will take place at approximately 6:40 pm, just ahead of the first evening match.
In becoming Hall of Famers, Li and Pierce join an elite group of just over 250 individuals hailing from 23 nations who have received the honor, which recognizes their careers as being among the most accomplished and impactful in the history of tennis. The three are being inducted in the Player Category.
It’s a pleasure to congratulate Li Na, Mary Pierce, and Yevgeny Kafelnikov, and to welcome them into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” stated Hall of Fame President Stan Smith. “They are three incredibly hard-working athletes who set and achieved goals at tennis’ highest levels. This is a well-deserved honor, and we look forward to celebrating them as Hall of Famers in Newport in July.”
Li Na, Pierce, and Kafelnikov will be officially inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on July 20, during Hall of Fame Weekend in Newport, Rhode Island.