MELBOURNE, January 18, 2019 (Press Release)
Five years after her historic Australian Open victory, Li Na is returning to Melbourne Park to compete in the Australian Open Legends tournament.
As the first Asian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title, Li Na attracted millions of new followers to tennis and inspired a generation of young players across China.
“We are so excited to have Li Na back,” said Tournament Director Todd Woodbridge. “She holds a special place in the history of the sport and fans have the opportunity to once again experience her charisma and grace on the court.”
In 2014 Li Na dominated the Australian Open – dropping only one set on her way to claiming the title with a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Dominika Cibulkova.
The former world number two is among two dozen tennis greats competing in the men’s and women’s doubles tournament. Collectively they have claimed every title the game has to offer.
Legends matches are generally played on outside courts during the second week of the Australian Open (Saturday 19th to Saturday 25th) and are accessible to all fans with a ground pass.
Among those joining Li Na are Daniela Hantuchova, Martina Navratilova,Lindsay Davenport and Kim Clijsters.
In the men’s tournament once again the McEnroe brothers – John andPatrick – will form a formidable partnership against the likes of Pat Cash,Goran Ivanesivic and Mats Wilander.
Fernando Gonzalez who battled Roger Federer in the final of the 2007 Australian Open will compete for the first time in the Legends Tournament.
“Although the players are retired from the professional circuit you never lose your competitive nature,” said Woodbridge.
Tennis fans can expect flashes of past brilliance such as the thundering serve of Mark Philippoussis along with tricks like Mansour Bahrami’s five-ball serve and the entertainment of whimsical French artiste Henri Leconte.
“When the legends play then that is the court where the most fun is being had,” said Woodbridge who will also dust off his racquet to play the event between commentary duties.
The Australian Open Legends Tournament line up:
Mary Joe Fernandez