Champaigne on hold for history-maker Li Na
Celebrations for Li Na’s historic win for China at the French Open
have been put on hold as she turns her focus on winning back-to back
Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon next month. The 29-year-old from Wuhan
became the first player from China and the first from Asia to win a
Grand Slam singles title when she defeated defending champion Francesca
Schiavone 6-4, 7-6 (7/0) in the French Open final on Saturday.
But instead of heading home to soak up the adulation from her growing
army of fans and followers, she will instead make the short journey over
the English Channel to begin her grasscourt preparations for the year’s
“The biggest thing right now after the French in the next two weeks
is Wimbledon, so I don’t have time to go back to China right now,” she
“So I go back after Wimbledon. If I don’t do well in Wimbledon, maybe
people forget me already. These are tough times, you know.
“I think right now the best thing for me is to enjoy it with my team
and try and focus on Wimbledon.”
Having already this year finished runner-up to Kim Clijsters at the
Australian Open and won in Paris, Li can realistically expect to come
close once again at Wimbledon. She has played there four times
previously and reached the quarter-finals on two occasions - in 2006 and
last year when she lost a close match to eventual winner Serena
Asked to assess her prospects in London, she was nevertheless
“Change of surface. Right now, like Schiavone says, just enjoy it and
take two or three days off. I will go to Eastbourne for the tournament.”
Whatever happens, Li said that she hoped her watershed win will
inspire a new generation of Chinese players to emerge and challenge the
sport’s traditional centres of power in Europe, Australia and the
She was particularly emotional when the Chinese flag was unfurled
above the Roland Garros centre court for the first time and the Chinese
national anthem was played in her honour.
“I think it was amazing, because I only know this before at the Asian
Games or the Olympics.
“I got a text message from my friend. She said they were crying in
China because they saw the national flag go up.
“I think if you are being Chinese, everyone was excited during this