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.