Media need Li Na more than they realize

Li Na has always had a strained relationship with the Chinese media – particularly the written press – who accuse her of being arrogant and disrespectful. But as this week’s Sports Talk column discusses, those media now need Li Na far more than she needs them, especially since she has already won over the global press with her Australian Open victory speech, and has a global profile that’s higher than ever given her rise to number 2 in the rankings. Here is an extract:

Li Na at Beijing book launchThere are now three separate magazines in China that ¬≠specialize in tennis: there is no way that they would all be commercially viable – or have ¬≠respectable circulation numbers – without Li’s success.

Now that Li’s star has gone global with her second major title, it’s clear that China’s sports media need Li more than she needs them – as much as they would hate to admit it.

With IMG representation behind her, Li is already sponsored by five large international firms. In no way has she forsaken her Chinese roots – she is largely the reason why her hometown Wuhan now has a Premier-level tournament on the WTA calendar – but expect to see her focus continue to be global, both on and off the court.

Chinese version here.

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