Tag Archives: Li Na

Chinese golfer signs with IMG

While the world’s press are catching up with news of David Beckham’s CSL deal, a more important signing in the world of Chinese sport in the last week might end up being female golfer Feng Shanshan partnering with IMG.

Image
Feng Shanshan and the IMG golf team

Feng was the first Chinese player to earn membership on the LPGA Tour after earning her card at qualifying school in 2008 and, last year, became the first major champion from the mainland – male or female – when she won the LPGA Championship. She’s currently ranked number five in the world.

Continue reading Chinese golfer signs with IMG

Next wave of Chinese tennis players set to make breakthrough

If Li Na’s French Open win was the earthquake, then here comes the tsunami.

I’ve written before about the crop of Chinese youngsters poised to make a breakthrough in the women’s game, and it looks like it might be happening.

Yesterday at the Malaysian Open, 21-year-old Wang Qiang beat former world number 1 and the tournament’s top seed, Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 for the biggest win of her career.

Image
Wang Qiang relaxes after beating Caroline Wozniacki

Continue reading Next wave of Chinese tennis players set to make breakthrough

Weekly Wrap: F1, NBA, Tennis, MMA

Ferrari sign first Chinese sponsor

Weichai-193x97_070114Ferrari’s Formula One team has signed a four-year deal with Weichai Power. Somewhat surprisingly given Ferrari 20+ year history in China and the importance of the Chinese market, it is Ferrari’s first ever Chinese sponsor. Weichai, as I’m sure you know, produces mechanical components for heavy-duty vehicles, including buses.

Weichai Power’s parent company, the Weichai Group, already has Italian links: the company bought a majority stake in luxury yacht manufacturer Ferretti Group last year.

Continue reading Weekly Wrap: F1, NBA, Tennis, MMA

Revolution in China?

Well, yes, a boxing one…

From my weekly column for the Global Times:

In all the excitement over Li Na’s thrilling run to the Australian Open final last week, another sporting development was largely overlooked – and it could prove to be even more significant for Chinese sport.

Two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist Zou Shiming has turned professional, signing for US promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank group, and will make his pro debut on April 6 in Macao.

Here’s the full piece:

http://services.globaltimes.cn/epaper/2013-01-28/14532.htm

Li Na on course to be world’s highest earning female athlete

Saturday’s Australian Open women’s tennis final will be an all-Nike affair as Li Na faces off against Victoria Azarenka. Nothing particularly unusual there, given that the US sportswear giant also sponsors Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. But Nike won’t quite have it all its own way.

That’s because Li Na has a deal – unique among Nike’s stable of tennis superstars that also includes Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – that allows her to have two other brands on her shirt in addition to the Nike swoosh. Those two? The well-known car company Mercedes-Benz, and the less well-known insurance company Taikang Life.

With Li leading the way, Mercedes has projected that China will be its biggest market by 2015, so paying $4.5 million to get the company’s logo on Li’s right sleeve for three years would seem to be money well spent.

Continue reading Li Na on course to be world’s highest earning female athlete

When a loss is really a win

I don’t mean to patronize Wu Di (吴迪), but his first round loss to Croatia’s Ivan Dodig at the Australian Open is still something to be celebrated.

The 21-year-old from Wuhan became the first Chinese man to play in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament in the professional era. He had qualified via a wildcard playoff in Nanjing last year, and despite an early break at the start of the match and a solid second set, he went down 5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 3-6.

No one – not the fans, not the bookmakers, not even Wu himself – expected the youngster to overcome the world number 74 in Melbourne. That much was clear from Wu’s post-match comments, when he conceded that Dodig is a much better player.

Continue reading When a loss is really a win

China 1, Japan love

China and Japan may be duking it out for territorial bragging rights in the East China Sea, but on the tennis court it is very much advantage China.

The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced this week that, from 2014, a new tournament in Wuhan will replace the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, which will celebrate a bittersweet 30th – and last – anniversary this year.

This is shaping up to be a huge tournament, with at least seven of the year-end ranked top 10 players due to appear in Li Na’s hometown, competing for more than $2 million in prize money.

Continue reading China 1, Japan love