Li Na’s Wimbledon Dreams




Li Na’s Wimbledon Dreams

Li Na’s Wimbledon Dreams

First Chinese French Open champion Li Na, whose victory has created a sensation back home, is not returning home until Wimbledon, because she fears that her fans may forget her French win if she fails to do well there.

She said she has chosen to put her celebrations on hold and stay in Europe, partly to avoid fans at home and to prepare well for Wimbledon. For young Chinese people, Li has become a role model.

She is quoted saying “If I don’t play well at Wimbledon, may be people will forget me when I come home.” Sina Weibo, one of China’s leading micro – blog websites, was full with people talking about her by Sunday. More than two million people have also registered as Li’s fans.

The victory in French Open made her the first Chinese and Asian player to win the Grand Slam tournament. The victory will give her the world No 4 position, equaling the Asian record set by Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm.

“When you have the first one, naturally you will think about the second one,” Li said about plans for Wimbledon. She was surprised that her first Grand Slam title came at Roland Garros, although she always thought that she had the ability to win a Major.

“French Open title? No, I never thought about it before,” said Li, following the tournament’s tradition of producing unlikely champions.

The Chinese No 1 is happy that she won on her least favourite surface, and now believes that the she has an edge over others. Next is the grass court season and Wimbledon, the third Major of the year, where she made the last eight in 2006 and 2010.

Li also passed on an inspiring message to her fellow Chinese players, saying all they need is the confidence with which they can scale any heights. “Chinese people are so lacking in confidence. If I can prove that we can do it, the young players in China will feel the same,” Li said.

No matter how significant the win at French Open is, Li said she is mentally preparing for the next challenge. “That’s what it is all about, playing on the professional tennis tour. You can’t stop after one victory. So for me, it will start all over again on Monday.”

The 29 year old also said that she believes that age will not stand in the way of her reaching even greater heights. “For me, age means nothing but strokes on paper. I’ll keep playing as long as I’m healthy.”

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Monica Mishra

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