China’s Li Na announces retirement from the sport
Two time grand slam winner Li Na has retired from tennis following persistent knee problems.
The former world number two has become a leading role model in China having won both the French Open in 2011 and Australian Open in 2014, however has not played since a third round exit in this year’s Wimbledon championship.
“Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honour” her statement read.
“Having the unique opportunity to effectively bring more attention to the sport of tennis in China and all over Asia is something I will cherish forever. But in sport, just like in life, all great things must come to an end”
Time magazine named Li among its 100 most influential people in the world in 2013. Known as “Big Sister Na” and “Golden Flower’ in China, the 32 year old’s cumulative earnings this year made her second only to Maria Sharapova amongst female athletes worldwide.
“Most people in the tennis world know that my career has been marked by my troubled right knee. The black brace I wear over it when I step on the court has become my tennis birth mark. And while the brace completes my tennis look, the knee problems have at times overtaken my life.
“After four knee surgeries and hundreds of shots injected into my knee weekly to alleviate swelling and pain, my body is begging me to stop the pounding. As hard as I tried to get back to being 100 per cent, my body kept telling me that, at 32, I will not be able to compete at the top level ever again. The sport is just too competitive, too good, to not be 100 per cent.
“Winning a Grand Slam title this year and achieving a ranking of world number two is the way I would like to leave competitive tennis. As hard as it’s been to come to this decision, I am at peace with it.
“I’ve succeeded on the global stage in a sport that a few years ago was in its infancy in China. What I’ve accomplished for myself is beyond my wildest dreams. What I accomplished for my country is one of my most proud achievements.”
The Chinese Tennis Association said “We also thank Li Na for the passionate and proud, shining moments she gave to Chinese tennis in her competitive career”.