Li Na Tattoo

January 29, 2011 by staff 

Li Na Tattoo, (CP) – After making history, Li Na turned her cell phone and found 44 text messages. Friends, family, fellow tennis players, sports officials and the media applauding her achievements at the Australian Open as a major step for the 28-year career and perhaps a giant step for China.

When Li walks on center court at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday for the championship game will be the first time a Chinese player will play in a Grand Slam singles final. A victory would give Li major boost tennis in China, where the sport has long struggled for recognition alongside tennis, badminton and table.

Before lifting the trophy, but Li will face Kim Clijsters, a three-time Open champion United States has long aspired to win in Melbourne. The Belgian 27-year-old extra motivation to win this year, which she said could be her last Australian Open.

Bright-eyed, full of humor and enjoy her moment of glory, Li said she was amused by the flurry of messages on her phone. She also said she was not fully aware of the reaction at home, and never reads the news to see it to avoid negative comments that might make him “angry or sad.”

There is not much bad news at the moment.

Li Na made history entering the Australian Open final “applauded the front page of Beijing News. Inside, read the tabloid ran nearly two pages of coverage on the semifinal upset over Li No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday. Li saved a match point against Wozniacki and rallied from a set and a breakdown of winning in three sets.

Chinese tennis federation head Sun Jinfang has been widely hailed as quoted Li as the new China International sports star, joining the ranks of Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and the Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang.

“There is always a pioneer in pushing things to the times and Li is a pioneer in sports of her time,” said Sun.

Li could be a pioneer, but she is also a little rebellious at times has had its differences with the state system of sport. Li has rarely taken the initiative to break with the state system in 2008 and hire her own coach. In late 2010, she replaced former coach Thomas Hogstedt with her husband, Jiang Shan.

She has her own style, too. Li has two upper ear piercings and a tattoo on the breast of a rose in a heart, which she proudly displayed at the Australian Open tennis with a scoop neck shirt. She said that the child she was inspired by the young Andre Agassi when he had long hair and bureaucracy outraged tennis game in denim shorts.

One of Li received text messages came from China boss’s tennis federation.

“She said:” Bravo (when) you come back; I pay (for) dinner. “- To which Li replied:” What is the only dinner ”

Another message came from her mother, who did not watch the matches of Li, because it makes him too nervous. But someone sent the good news. “She sent me a text message. She said:” Good. I expect you home. “Yeah, that’s it,” Li said, laughing.

“My best friend just called me. She was crying on the phone,” Li said, pretending to cry and hyperventilate at the same time. “I was like, ‘OK, take it easy. What do you say? Calm down. ”

“I felt, maybe special day for friends, for my family, for me,” Li said.

The WTA is banking on success of Li to help stimulate the growth of tennis in China.

“Exceptional performance Li Na will propel the popularity of women’s tennis ahead exponentially in the Chinese market,” chairman and CEO Stacey Allaster WTA said in a commentary sent to The Associated Press. “Women’s tennis is already one sports the fastest growth in China thanks to the celebrity and success of Li Na and its countrymen. ”

Last year, Li and her fellow Chinese player Zheng Jie reached the semi-finals in Melbourne, marking the first time two Chinese players had advanced so far at a Grand Slam tournament.

The WTA has launched a website in Chinese, has opened an office in Beijing and has elevated the status of the China Open in one of the biggest tournaments on the tour calendar. The WTA said it was in talks with Beijing authorities on increasing the number of professional tennis tournaments in China in 2012.

Clijsters beat Li in four of their six games, but Li has won the latest match two weeks ago in the Sydney International final. Li rallied from a 5-0 deficit in the first set to beat Belgium in straight sets and winning the Australian Open tuneup tournament.

“I beat her the last time,” Li said, but “did not mean anything here. I know it’s a tough game. ”


Associated Press Writer Christopher Bodeen contributed to this report from Beijing.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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