Saturday, 25 January 2014

Li Na Conquers Australia

Li Na raises her arms in victory after winning her second Grand Slam title
Li Na has proven she is not just a one-hit wonder.

The 31-year-old won the Australian Open defeating Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 tonight in Melbourne. It was the second Grand Slam the Chinese tennis player won after the French Open in 2011.

She attributes the win to her confidence, largely thanks to the psychological pep talks she has with coach Carlos Rodriguez since she started working with him in 2012.

Li's win also proves that the Chinese state system doesn't work for everyone. In 2008 she split from the Chinese Tennis Federation that previously ran her career and took a 65 percent cut from her earnings, according to CNN.

She now chooses who she wants to work with and also takes all the winnings and sponsorships -- which has made her a rich woman, as she acknowledged in her victory speech, by first thanking her agent Max Eisenbud, who she shares with Maria Sharapova.

Then she thanked her husband for being her hitting partner, mixing drinks and giving up his tennis career to be with her. "Thanks a lot, you are a nice guy. Also you are so lucky," she said in front of the audience.

He was in the stands laughing and clapping with delight. It's not the first time she's ribbed him publicly which is great, but also shows he's a progressive Chinese man as most mainland men wouldn't stand being ridiculed -- even if jokingly -- by their wife. Then again when she pulls in millions of dollars in sponsorships and wins, who cares?

In any event her speech was endearing to her fans, and she knows what to say, like thanking the sponsors for putting on the event.

She is definitely a fantastic role model for aspiring Chinese athletes because she demonstrates that sports isn't just about winning, it's about having fun and enjoying yourself on the court.

While the clock is ticking for her to chase after two more Grand Slams, Li shows that she's got a lot of determination to win and win big.


  1. Loved your column. And how nice that an "older woman" has won.

    1. HI Amy! Good to hear from you! Some are speculating this is only the beginning for Li Na... we shall see!