Generally after retirement, the players stop travelling a lot, but, with Li Na, it’s different. The 32-year old Chinese woman might not be a professional player any more, but, she is still travelling as much as she used to be before.
She was in America a couple of months back with her husband for vacations and then, she went to Shenzhen for the trophy distribution ceremony on the final day of the tournament there.
Currently, Li is in OZ. She has been named the brand ambassador of the Grand Slam that is going to take place there shortly. Read more »
Li Na is a former professional tennis player from China who played on the WTA Tour and created history by becoming the first ever Chinese player to win a Grand Slam title when she won the French Open in 2011, going on to win another Grand Slam in the Australian Open in 2014 before retiring due to chronic knee problems.
She achieved a career best ranking of world number two in February 2014 but announced her retirement from the game just seven months after due to her failure to get over the chronic injuries. Li is a nine time WTA event winner, including her two Grand Slam wins, which make her the first and only Asian player to win a Grand Slam title.
Before winning the event, Li Na had already created history by becoming the first player in the history of Asia to reach a Grand Slam final in singles competition when she reached the final of the season opening Australian Open in 2011.
Apart from winning several trophies throughout her career, Li is considered as the pioneer for tennis in Asia, particularly for women after her achievements sparked a major upturn in the number of players taking up the game, not only in China but throughout the continent.
She also finished as the runner up in the Australian Open in 2013 as well as the WTA Tour Championship that same year and was a semi finalist in the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008 as well as the 2013 US Open.
Having turned professional in 2002, Li Na changed the way the tennis fraternity looked at players from Asia and completely changed the game as whole in the continent and in her country, she is considered to be a national hero in a nation starved of success in one of the most popular sports.
According to Li Na, passion is very important for the kids who want to make their name in sports.
The recently retired player believes that the kids should fall in love with the game.
Li was in Singapore the other day with one of the cabinet ministers of China to pay a visit to Sports Hub.
She spoke to the reporters there. When she was asked about her plans of opening a tennis academy, she said, “All I want through my academy is to make the kids enjoy because that is very important. You cannot be successful for a long period of time without enjoying the game.”
“Some kids go to the academies because they are forced to do so by their parents. Even with me, it was the case. I did not want to become a tennis player, but, because of the family pressure, I pursued. However, I have always felt that the kids themselves have to develop that desire of playing the game. If they don’t love the game and still play, there is a lesser chance of them achieving success.”
When asked how excited she is to head back down under at the start of next year as Australian Open’s friend, Li said, “I am really, really glad. It’s an honour. The people of my country also like Australian Open a lot because the timing of the matches suits them. They can follow the tournament easily.”
“Going to Melbourne has always been fantastic. The people there have always cheered for me. It’s one of the better places that I have ever travelled.”
Li Na had lifted the Australian Open trophy in Melbourne this year and nobody would have thought at that time that she would never compete there again.