Li Na Biographical Information:
Name: Li Na 李娜 (pinyin: Lǐ Nà, pronounced Lee-NAH)
Hometown: Wuhan, Hubei Province, China
Date of Birth: February 26, 1982
Family: only child, married to Jiang Shan
Started Playing: 1990
Turned Pro: 1999
Favorite Court Surface: hard
Plays: right-handed player, double-handed backhand
Hobbies: reading, swimming and shopping
Li Na’s Career Highlights:
In 2006, Li became the first Chinese player to be ranked among the top 30 players in the world, and she rose to the top 20 later that year. When she entered the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2006, it was the first time a Chinese player had ever reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal.
While her career has been plagued with absences and injuries, including an ankle injury in 2005, Li has managed to become a household name in China. Her performance has raised the profile of Chinese tennis players in recent years.
Why You Should Know Li Na:
The world began to take notice of Li during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing when she defeated American Venus Williams in the singles quarterfinals in two straight sets, 7-5, 7-5. She lost the semi-final match against Russian Dinara Safina and was again defeated in the bronze medal match by fellow Russian Vera Zyonareva.
She reflected on this pivotal career match in Jan. 2010 at the Australian Open when she spoke in English with reporters before her match with Williams.
“It was good experience for me, for my tennis, also. But I just want to forget because I will play her again. So I didn't want always think about the last match. I want to looking forward,” said Li.
Li beat Williams in the Australian Open quarterfinal but lost the semifinal match the next day to Williams’ younger sister, Serena. Li’s match against Serena Williams was another first for a Chinese player. It marked the first time a Chinese player reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
Li Na’s Life:
Born in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in central China, Li was an only child who enjoyed playing badminton. Her coach noticed early on that when Li played badminton, she looked as if she were playing tennis. He convinced Li’s parents to let her switch to tennis. Li began playing tennis and turned pro when she was a teenager.
Li is married to Jiang Shan, who also serves as one of her coaches.
Li Na’s Statistics:
These statistics are for tour level matches only. Tour level is the highest level of play in tennis.
2008 – Gold Coast
2004 – Guangzhou
2006 – Birmingham (with Jelena Jankovic/Serbia)
2000 – Tashkent (with Ting Li/China)
2009 – Competed in the quarterfinals of the US Open
2006 – Competed in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon
2000 – Played in the US Open (ranked 32nd), her first Grand Slam event
1998 –Won the Asian Youth Cup