More slams and Hall of Fame await Li Na, says Evert

Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:58am EST
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By Patrick Johnston

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Li Na is destined for more grand slams and a place in the Hall of Fame after the Australian Open win cemented her position as the most influential female player of the last decade, said former great Chris Evert.

Li's final victory over Slovak Dominika Cibulkova on Saturday gave her a second major following her 2011 French Open title, a triumph that made her Asia's first singles grand slam champion.

Evert, the winner of 18 grand slam titles, joined WTA Tour chief Stacey Allaster in hailing the Chinese's achievements at a timely promotional event on Monday for the end of year championships in Singapore and women's tennis in Asia.

"Yeah, I'd vote for her," Evert told reporters when asked if Li was worthy of a place alongside her in the Hall of Fame. "It's not only about winning grand slams its about the influence that you have in tennis.

"Look at her, as Stacey said she is the most influential women's tennis player in the last 10 years, with what she has done for global tennis so absolutely 100 percent.

"Something would be wrong if she didn't get into the tennis hall of fame."

Her impressive play and comical post match interviews have made her a crowd favorite in Australia and around the world, with Allaster brimming as Asia, and China in particular, embraces the sport.

Singapore and Beijing now house WTA offices while 17 WTA events will be played in Asian Pacific in 2014. Allaster said Li's latest boost had been timely.   Continued...

Li Na of China poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup she won in the women's singles final match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament during a photo call at Brighton Beach in Melbourne, January 26, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Reed