Li Na Asia’s First Grand Slam Champion
Chinese Li Na’s win at the French Open has ignited celebrations and recognition all over Asia. Li won over defending Champion Francesca Schiavnone last Saturday, but Chinese State television was only able to broadcast the tennis match a day after and the story ran in the front pages of newspapers across the nation.
Newspapers in different Chinese cities in Asia celebrated her win by featuring her as a top story, some even dubbed her the empress of French tennis. The 29-year-old triumphed 6-4 7-6 (7-0) against the Italian Sciavone, Li is the first player from her country to reach the final of the clay-court tournament. Her victory will push her up to a career-high fourth in the world rankings, equaling the best by an Asian player set by Japan’s Kimiko Date Krumm back in 1995.
The Chinese Olympic Committee extended their heartfelt congratulations to Li, through a joint letter with the government’s tennis Sports Management center. The center hopes that this will encourage and inspire Chinese athletes to work harder in training and gain more confidence to be at their best in the London 2012 Olympics. The State media also hopes that the athletes can learn from her as they prepare themselves for the Olympics.