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College Commitment
Fall Signing Week '10: Amber Li a Yale Bulldog

Five-star recruit Amber Li had just returned from an official visit to Rice University in Texas when the phone rang in her Tampa, Fla., home. It was Danielle McNamara, the women's coach at Yale University, calling to arrange a visit during a family trip to Florida.

Amber Li is heading to New Haven
© Julie Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
Yale was already one of Li's top college considerations (the list included Harvard, Brown and Princeton). A few days after her dinner with Coach McNamara, it was Li's only choice.

The 17-year-old Floridian has since announced her verbal commitment to play tennis for Yale in the fall semester of 2011.

"I really liked her," Li said of Coach McNamara.

Yale's Ivy League aura had long made the school a favorite with Li's father, a native of Beijing, China, who moved to Tampa 20 years ago to work for a shipping company.

Li credits her mother with starting her in tennis when she was eight. Her mother would drive by a tennis club near their house every day, and one day arranged for both to begin lessons. Li has been there ever since, honing her game under the tutelage of Dominic Owen at the Harbour Island Athletic Club and Spa.

Li has spent a good portion of her training hours on Florida's green clay. The slow surface forced her to learn patience and creativity. It also spawned the heavy topspin forehand that she uses to open up the court against her opponents. When that happens, Li doesn't hesitate to step into the court to seize control of the point.

"I can play defensively," she said, "but I guess one of my strengths is turning defense into offense."

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