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:
…not Li Na, who today was officially confirmed as the number 2 player in the world, but Peng Shuai, who has just risen to the top of the rankings – in doubles.
在4年前的温哥华冬奥会上，18岁的中国短道速滑运动员周洋打破1500米奥运会纪录，为中国代表队夺得了温哥华奥运会第三块金牌。随后，周洋又帮助中国队以打破世界纪录的成绩夺得3000米接力桂冠。她还进入到短道速滑1000米决赛，并且在半决赛上创下新的世界纪录。 Continue reading 运动员获奖后首先该感谢谁？
A couple more Li Na items before we get into Olympic season… A video doing the rounds shows Li being slapped by a local sports official back at the National Games in 2001.
A simplistic view often peddled in the western press is that the rebellious Li Na, tattoo and all, broke free of the state-run system when she and three others decided to “fly solo” in 2008. Under the new arrangement, the players could choose their own support team, arrange their own schedule and – crucially – keep the vast majority of their prize money instead of forking it over to the Chinese Tennis Association.
A new post on what Li Na’s Australian Open win could mean for her career both on and off the court will be up tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are some pictures doing the rounds on the Chinese internet of the country’s biggest sports star in her (very) formative years…
Li Na cruised through to the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday with a 6-0, 7-6 win over Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic, while Zheng Jie had a tougher battle, eventually downing American Madison Keys 7-6,1-6, 7-5. But for all the talk about China’s new generation of tennis players (here and elsewhere), Li and Zheng were the only two to make it out of the first round – from the eight who made the main draw.
China had a record eight players in the singles draw for the Australian Open. Of the five who played on Day 1, there were wins for Li Na (vs 16-year-old Croatian Ana Konjuh) and Zheng Jie (vs 12th seed Roberta Vinci), while wildcard playoff winners Wu Di and Tang Haochen both lost, as did Zhang Shuai, who had ended 2013 so well.