Li Na begins 2019 Hall of Fame Tour at City Parks clinic in New York

Li Na begins 2019 Hall of Fame Tour at City Parks clinic in New York

The two-time major champion is set to become the first Asian enshrined at the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday in Newport, RI.

NEW YORK—Two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na kicked off her 2019 International Tennis Hall Of Fame induction tour on Thursday at the Sutton East Tennis Club in Manhattan, headlining a kids’ clinic in partnership with the City Parks Foundation. The event, originally scheduled in Brooklyn, was moved indoors due to inclement weather.

Ben Solomon/International Tennis Hall of Fame

Lucky participants had the opportunity to ask questions and exchange baseline rallies with the former world No. 2, before receiving prized autographs. For Li, it was important to stress maintaining self-belief to the aspiring tennis players in attendance.

“When they decide to do one thing, don’t give up and just keep going. I know it’s very tough but believe in yourself. You are stronger than you know.”

Li, who arrived two days ago in New York, admittedly was feeling the effects of making the lengthy trip from Beijing.

“The jet lag already killed me,” Li joked with Tennis.com. “I didn’t sleep too much but I am used to it. Much less than when I was playing.”

Li is set to become the first Asian enshrined at the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday in Newport, RI. Now a mother of two, Li will have a number of family members and friends to share the honor with, including her mom, husband and two kids. It’s an occasion she plans on soaking up.

Ben Solomon/International Tennis Hall of Fame 

“I think it will be a very good experience. When I was playing, you could only do it with the team around you. Now I can have with family to relax and enjoy the time, showing them what I was doing before.”

On whether she knew much about the local area, Li revealed having an inside source on the best spots to hit while in town.

“I have one friend who said her hometown was Newport. But now she’s lived in Beijing for 10 years. She gave me a lot of ideas on what I should do. I’m very excited and looking forward to it.”

Li’s induction, along with fellow 2019 Hall of Fame class members Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Mary Pierce, will air live on Tennis Channel at 6 p.m. ET