This article if for you, Li Na. You won’t be forgotten! 😉
1st chapther : Li Na’s personal life
Li Na was born on 26 February 1982, in Wuhan, Hubei, China. Her father, Li Shengpeng (李盛鹏), was a professional badminton player and later worked as a sales rep for a Wuhan-based company. He died from a rare cardiovascular disease when Li was fourteen.
At age six, Li Na started playing badminton, following her father’s footsteps. Just before she turned eight, Li was persuaded to switch to tennis by coach Xia Xiyao of the Wuhan youth tennis club. Li joined China’s National Tennis Team in 1997. The following year, Li, sponsored by Nike, went to John Newcombe Academy in Texas to study tennis. She studied there for 10 months and returned to China. Growing up, her favourite tennis player was Andre Agassi. She turned professional in 1999 at the age of sixteen.
At the end of 2002, Li left the national tennis team to study part-time at Huazhong University of Science and Technology( HUST ), where she completed her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2009. The Chinese media cited various reasons for this. Some reported that the relationship between her and her teammate and future husband, Jiang Shan (姜山), was opposed by the national team’s management, some reported that her coach, Yu Liqiao (余丽桥), was too strict and demanding, while other reports claimed that her request for a personal coach did not go through. However, some regarded that it was just the health problem leading to the retirement. The New York Times reported that one of the reasons was that a team leader wanted her to play through by taking hormone medicine.
Li returned to the national team in 2004. Jiang Shan married Li on 27 January 2006, and became her personal coach. Li quit the national team as well as the state-run sports system in 2008 under an experimental reform policy for tennis players. This change was called „Fly Solo“ (单飞) by Chinese media. As a result, Li had the freedom to hire her own coaching staff and she would be solely responsible for the cost of training and coaching and tour expense. She could keep more of her winnings, with only 8 percent of her winnings going to the Chinese Tennis Association development fund as opposed to 65 percent previously. In the summer of 2012, the requirement of contribution to the Chinese tennis development fund was lifted and Li can keep all her prize money.
Li has a rose tattoo on her chest, but kept it hidden for many years since tattoos are widely unaccepted in China, especially on women.
Source : Wikipedia
2nd chapter : Main informations about Li Na
Li Na (born 26 February, 1982) is a former Chinese professional tennis player, who reached a career-best ranking of world No. 2 on the WTA Tour. In her career, Li won nine WTA singles titles, including two Grand Slam singles titles at the 2011 French Open and 2014 Australian Open. Li’s rise to prominence came after her victory at the former event, which made her the first and only Grand Slam singles champion from Asia. Prior to this, she had already become the first player representing an Asian country to appear in a Grand Slam singles final, a milestone she achieved at the 2011 Australian Open. Li was also the runner-up at the 2013 Australian Open and 2013 WTA Tour Championships, a three-time quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and a semifinalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and 2013 US Open. Li achieved a career-high singles ranking of world No. 2 on 17 February 2014, but retired seven months later due to recurring and worsening knee injuries.
3rd chapter : Li Na’s career review
Roland Garros 2011 Australian Open 2014
You can watch Li Na’s best moments in this gallery on the official site of WTA! 🙂
Here’s my review of her career:
1. Li Na won her first WTA title at Guangzhou in 2004
2. She reached her first (but not the last) Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon in 2006.
3. She won her second WTA title at Gold Coast in 2008.
4. She reached her first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open in 2010.
5. She won her 3rd WTA title in Birmingham in 2010.
6. And then, she won her 5th WTA title in Sydney in 2011.
7. She reached her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open in 2011. She became Asia’s first Grand Slam finalist.
8. She won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2011. She became Asia’s first Grand Slam champion. She qualified for her first WTA Championships in 2011.
9. She won her 6th WTA title in Cincinnati in 2012. She qualified for her 2nd WTA Championships that year.
10.She won her 7th title in Shenzhen in 2013. She reached final at the Australian Open too.
11.She reached finals at the WTA Championships. That result brought her to the no. 3 in the world – highest ranked Asian player ever.
12. Li won her 8th WTA title in Shenzhen 2014.
13. She won her 2nd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in 2014.
14. Her last professional match was against Barbora Zahlavova-Strycove. She lost that match 6:7(5) 6:7(5)
4th champter: Li Na’s play style
Li was an aggressive baseliner whose game was founded upon her quick reflexes, athleticism and powerful groundstrokes that achieved precision, placement and depth. Li’s crosscourt forehand tended to be her favourite shot, hit with great accuracy and pace, although her backhand was said to be the more consistent and reliable groundstroke, both of which she was known to unleash unpredictably to all areas of the court to dictate play. She boasted an exceptional backhand down-the-line, which was very effective at producing winners or setting up a weak reply from the opponent. Many tennis analysts considered Li one of the cleanest and hardest hitting players on tour, capable of overpowering and outgunning opponents from the baseline. Although she did not possess an overwhelmingly powerful serve, it was very well placed, earning her aces or unreturnables on occasion, however it often became a liability when she lost confidence under pressure, resulting in many double faults. Li employed a solid defensive game combining great footwork, speed and lateral movement. Her ability to turn defense into offense was one of her biggest assets as she hit well on the run and scrambled around the court with ease. Having been an accomplished doubles player, she was comfortable at the net and often moved forward to take advantage of a short ball or finish off an extended rally. Li’s main weakness was her inconsistency, prone to streaky and erratic play accompanied by a high unforced error count. Her game also lacked variety, as she usually hit her shots hard and flat with minimal topspin or slice. Her emotions on court have hurt her game during tight moments. Under the tutelage of Carlos Rodriguez (former coach of former world No. 1 and multiple Grand Slam champion Justine Henin), Li adopted more of an all-round game, including a forehand with additional topspin, frequent net approaches, as well as improved consistency and mental stability.
5th and final chapter: My description of Li Na
Picture : Na Li with Vera Zvonareva
She’s one of the funniest and the most unique players EVER. She was always so positive. Her speech when she won Australian Open in 2014 was one of the best I have ever heard. Stories about her was about her tennis career, not about her scandals. She was a huge fighter. She had lot of injuries, but she was always coming back to the WTA tour. However, she’s 32 now and she have problems with injuries, so she decided to retire from her professional career. She was clean striker. It was amazing for me to watch her play. In her career she beaten a lot of legends in women’s tennis – Clijsters, Venus, Serena, Sharapova, Azarenka etc. I will miss her because she was so interesting on and off the court. She played amazing, she had brilliant speeches and she almost always had laugh on her face. I wish her luck in her new chapter of life and I know she’ll be happy. She deserves it! Love you Li! You’re the best! 😀 ❤