May 23, 2014
Double Grand Slam winner Li Na begins her challenge for a second French Open title in Paris next week, a feat which would give a significant boost to tennis in China.
Talking to Laureus.com, Li Na, the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam and reach the top ten in the world rankings, said: “We have only had tennis in China for a short time and now I am really happy we are doing well. There is much more we can prove.”
Of her targets, she says: “I know No.1 ranking is still far away, but I try to catch that. And to try to win another Grand Slam, if I can.
“At the time [after winning the 2011 French Open] I really did not think about how many ‘firsts’ I was making, but then at the press conference they reminded me and I was feeling pretty good when they told me.”
Li Na knows that if she wins in Roland Garros this year, her reaction will be very different to 2011. “When I won my first Grand Slam in the French Open I was feeling excited, but after that I did not do well on the court and I did not know what I should do. I just struggled.”
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However, her slump in form lasted just six months and she returned stronger than ever, winning the Australian Open in February this year, her second Grand Slam victory.
She said: “Now I think I am more understanding about myself. More understanding about tennis. When I come to the court I know what to do.”
Li Na, who was nominated for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award after her French Open victory, said: “When some people say ‘she is lucky’, I say yes I am. I play good tennis, I am healthy. I fight on court. I am really happy to have my team around me.”
Victory at Roland Garros this year will make Li Na a strong contender for Nomination for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award.