Li's legend keeps growing | Updated: 2019-07-19 11:21
Two-time Grand Slam Champion Chinese tennis player Li Na (L) signs for young tennis players during a youth tennis clinic in Mahattan of New York, the United States, July 18, 2019. The first Grand Slam winner from Asia is going to be inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) in New York on Saturday. [Photo/Xinhua]

NEW YORK — Li Na remembers first watching tennis on TV at her childhood home in Wuhan, Hubei province. Drawn to the unforgettable style of an American star with flowing locks who wore an earring and denim shorts, she became an instant fan.

"Andre Agassi is my role model," Li said on Thursday.

The 37-year-old Chinese legend, who will be formally inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday, told Xinhua she has been dreaming of establishing a tennis school since her retirement in September 2014.

"Although that dream has not yet come true, I am engaging in training young players, with the collaboration of Nike and Mercedez," she said.

"My training philosophy is interest-oriented, not title-oriented. It focuses on inspiring young kids who love the sport to play joyfully."

Li went from idolizing Agassi as a role model to becoming one herself.

Her triumph at the 2011 French Open made her the first player from Asia to win a Grand Slam singles title and put her on course to tirelessly contribute to the sport's growth in her homeland.

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