Li Na devotes herself to next generation of tennis players

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Two-time Grand Slam Champion Chinese tennis player Li Na (front) poses with young tennis players during a youth tennis clinic in Mahattan of New York, the United States, July 18, 2019. Two-time Grand Slam Champion Li Na will be kicking off her upcoming International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) induction weekend by sharing her love of the game with some of the sport's youngest players and fans. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

Chinese retired tennis great Li Na, two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 2, has devoted herself to training young amateurs to continue making contributions to the game.

Li, 37, who will be formally inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Saturday, told Xinhua on Thursday that she has been dreaming of establishing a tennis school since her retirement in September 2014.

"Although the dream has yet come true, I am engaging in training the young with the collaboration of Nike and Mercedez," Li said.

"My training is interest-oriented instead of title-oriented. It focuses on inspiring the young who love the sport to play joyfully," Li added.

Li reached her career high first in the 2011 French Open, claiming the women's singles title, and second in 2014 Australian Open with singles crown. She also collected seven WTA singles titles.

Li has cemented her reputation as a trailblazer in the game by becoming the first person from Asia to be elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Li came to New York to host a youth tennis clinic with kids from the City Parks Foundation on Thursday at the Sutton East Tennis Club.

The dozens of children participating in the clinic are participants in City Parks Foundation's tennis program. CityParks Tennis utilizes the sport to promote physical fitness while building self-confidence, by offering free tennis instruction to thousands of kids annually in more than 36 parks throughout New York's five boroughs.

Justin Chong, a 13-year-old from the CityParks Tennis, has played with Li for quite a long time at the clinic.

"I started playing tennis at the age of seven and joined the program five years ago. I am glad to have the chance to play with Li Na. It shows that if you work hard, you can achieve something," Chong told Xinhua. 

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