Chinese tennis player, Li Na, has said that she would give her best in the upcoming Wimbledon tournament and would prove her critics wrong. Li Na had won the French open in 2011. She became a super star in China and all over Asia after that. Before Li Na, no Asian tennis player had ever won a Grand Slam Singles title. After that, she got a lot of commercial contracts and started earning a lot. But, unfortunately, after that French Open, she hadn’t been able to produce the same kind of performance. She hadn’t won any other tournament after that.
Li Na has been criticized a lot due to her continuous inconsistent performances after the French open 2011. It has been said that her wealth is distracting her and she is not focusing enough on the tennis. According to Forbes Rich list, Li Na is one of the richest athletes in the world at the moment. Li has the commercial contracts of the top companies in the world Nike, Mercedes and many more. On being asked about that, Li said that her commercial contracts are not responsible for her inconsistent performances. She said that in the grand slams, you have to compete with the world’s best players and it’s not necessary that every time you will win. She said that she is practicing hard and hopefully, she would do better in the Wimbledon.
In the official rankings of World Tennis Association (WTA), Li is at no. 11 right now. Li had been in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon previously. She made it to the quarterfinals two times before i.e. in 2006 and 2010. In 2006, she had been defeated by Kim Klisters while in 2010, Serena Williams had defeated her. But, Li is pretty hopeful that she would go beyond the quarterfinals this time around and hopefully would win the title.
Although Maria Sharapove may be the highest earning female sport star in the world few would know that the second richest is Li Na, the world No. 7 women’s tennis player and winner of a single grand slam title in a 13-year career.
But that surprise victory at the French Open almost a year ago transformed Li into one of the world’s most marketable athletes. According to Forbes.com, she earned $18 million to April 2012 (up $10 million from 2011) — $8 million shy of Sharapova’s total but $5 million more than third-placed Serena Williams.
So why are brands scrambling to associate with Li, who will defend her title at Roland Garros when the clay-court major starts on Sunday??? “Two words: She’s Chinese,” says Simon Chadwick, Professor of Sport Business Strategy and Marketing at Coventry University Business School in Britain.”Li Na is out there on her own, firstly in terms of being a female Chinese sportsperson and secondly in terms of her international profile and success.”
With a great deal of capital behind her a successful defence of her French open title in Paris would surely propel her into superstardom. He agent believed that last year’s victory represented a ‘win that was a lot bigger than tennis.” Reports suggest that as a result of her victory the sport of tennis has seen exponential growth in China with young children desperate to learn the game to emulate their hero Na Li. A successful tournament at Wimbledon and the 30 year old may well become a global brand not just a Chinese sporting hero. Either way her success is good for tennis
When she became the first Asian woman to become a Grand Slam champion in the professional era of tennis, or any era of tennis for that matter after winning the French Open crown in 2011, a lot was expected from the Chinese tennis ace Na Li, but since that win, she struggled to put together any kind of decent result throughout the year and didn’t win another title that year. However, 2012 has begun on a slightly different note for the 30 year old having won three matches in a row in the Hopman Cup and reaching the finals in the preparatory event for the Australian Open in Sydney.
But the crushing loss to Kim Clijsters in the first Grand Slam of the year dealt a huge blow to her confidence, leading to her walking out of the post match press conference with tears in her eyes. For all those who know Na Li, it was not a normal reaction from the Chinese ace but according to a recent interview, she has regained much of her confidence and is looking forward to defending her French Open crown when the clay court season kicks off in some time.
But the 30 year old is not exactly concerned much with another Grand Slam win; rather she expects to put in a stellar performance in the upcoming Olympic Games of 2012 in London where she is hoping for one last shot at the Gold Medal. She will be leading the Chinese tennis team in the London Games and in the interview, Na Li made it clear that this will be her last Games and she will give it her best shot to get the medal.
But she also added that she is happy with the way her career has panned out and has no regrets.
Chinese tennis sensation Na Li has become the latest player to pull out of the upcoming Open GDF Paris which is being held in Paris in France in the first and second weeks of February after the withdrawal of the 13th ranked player Jelena Jankovic from the tournament earlier in the week.
The 29 year old Chinese tennis star became a cult figure for women in China as well as in Asia after becoming the first Asian woman to have ever won a Grand Slam title when she defeated the odds to be crowned the French Open champion in 2011.
However, a back injury forced the 9th ranked player in the world to retire early from her first round against Tsvetana Pironkova and withdraw from the tournament. Na Li, who was seeded 3rd for the tournament did not have the best of starts to the match against Pironkova when she trailed her 5-0 in the initial exchanges before making a strong comeback to take the set to a tie breaker, although she failed to win the tie breaker.
Trailing 2-3 after the fifth game of the second set, the Chinese woman decided to take a medical timeout and had her medical staff check her out before deciding to retire from the match and therefore, the tournament. Speaking to the reporters after the match, she added that she felt a slight pain in her back during China’s Fed Cup match but didn’t think much of it at that time and proceeded to play in the tournament, only to have to retire so early in the event.
At 29 years old, Na Li is not exactly a spring chicken in terms of fitness and with injuries starting to take a toll on her every now and then; it is worth seeing if she can bounce back for the next few WTA events.
Li Na was defeated in a dramatic encounter with Kim Clijsters which was a replay of last year’s Australian Open final. In the fourth round match, Clijsters took 3 sets to seal the victory, eventually winning 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4. Along the way, the Belgian player twisted an ankle and remarkably defended 4 match points against the Chinese player.
The drama appeared early in the match when Clijsters turned her ankle at 3-3, 30-30. “(Retiring) definitely crossed my mind at some point, but I knew if I could just try to kind of let the medication sink in or, you know, if I could get through the first 20 minutes, half-hour, I think the pain would go away a little bit and then maybe with the adrenalin I could just fly through it,” Clijsters said.
“I’m happy that I didn’t give up.” She made the correct choice, and although the first set was claimed by Li Na, the second set went all the way to a tie-break. The fifth seed stormed into a 6-2 lead, which looked unassailable until Clijsters started chipping away at it. It was soon 6-5, and the whole stadium held as breath as the Belgian sent a precarious drop shot drifting over the net to make it 6-6.
At this point, Clijsters had all the momentum and took the second set, 8-6 in the tie break. “You know, I’m not saying that forehand drop shot was a good choice, but, you know, you make decisions. Luckily, that one turned out okay,” Clijsters said.
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Chinese tennis sensation Na Li believes that Australia is a very lucky place for her and that she is looking forward to facing the challenge in Australia where she reached the final in 2011. That success has added to the confidence of the Chinese ace who believes that she now knows what she can expect from the Australian Open and she will be prepared to face everything once the tournament begins.
The French Open champion commented that since it will be the first Grand Slam of the tournament, each and every competitor will be more or less at the same level and this gives everyone the chance to come out on top and only the one who is acquainted with the Open will come out on top. According to her, every opponent in every tournament is difficult but she feels that the Australian Open is her lucky tournament as she has always performed well Down Under and although she has never won the title, she feels that this is her time to claim the title and set things straight after her defeat in the final last year.
Having won the Medibank International Sydney by defeating Kim Clijsters last season, therefore becoming the first Asian player to win a tournament in Australia, Na Li is hopeful of a repeat this time around as well. But she knows that it will be difficult as the new girls coming into the circuit are also very good, apart from the old guards who have already made their mark in the court.
Having won her very first Grand Slam title at the French Open last year, she knows what it takes to win a major title as well and Na Li is looking to emulate her success on clay on the hard courts of Australia as well.