Li Na farewell ceremony in Wuhan

Li Na touring Wuhan

Succumbing to chronic knee injuries, Li Na had retired from tennis just ahead of a first WTA event in her hometown of Wuhan, but the Chinese made sure not to let the tournament down and took time to show up for a tour of the new venue, a chat with the media and goodbye ceremony.

Li Na touring Wuhan 2

A tour of the venue is the least you can do when a tournament complex features a statue of yourself! The Optics Valley International Tennis Center was built in one year, for the Premier-level Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. Next year there will be a new center court for 15,000, currently under construction.

Wuhan Li Na statue

Home fans were there to greet their tennis legend, while colleague Caroline Wozniacki handed her a bouquet of flowers on behalf of all the WTA players.

Li and Wozniacki at Wuhan Open

The two-time Grand Slam champion also talked to the press and my favorite part of the interview is when Li thanks the one person she had always forgotten to thank before:

Now, at the age of 32, I want to thank the Li Na at the age of 15. It’s because of the perseverance in my youth that I was able to achieve my goals.

Li meets the press in Wuhan

You see, already in our childhood we set the pace for ourselves. And talking about childhood, here are photos of our Li as a chubby baby and little girl in bell-bottoms. (source: WTA Tour)

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5 thoughts on “Li Na farewell ceremony in Wuhan

  1. Rach

    Sorry to see Na retire. Always liked her and she did much to show the rest of the world that Chinese people are charming, frank and have a great sense of humour. But that statue! Laughing so hard. THAT IS NOT LI NA. Hilarious.

  2. Tennis Island

    It has to be a great moment for Li Na to get all these signs of support and thanks for all her achievements. She is a great players and many juniors can learn a lot from her. I believe we can see her again in few years in a different role (maybe a coach?)

  3. Marija Post author

    Rach, I agree, that doesn’t look like Li Na. It’s more like Bouchard. But OK, their intentions were good 🙂 I would be honored to have a statue of myself even if it didn’t resemble me haha.

    Tennis Island, who knows what life will bring her way. So far she’s planning on focusing on her academy, charity work and having children.

  4. Jim

    Spot on, Marija. The Statue does look more like Bouchard, especially because of the skinny chicken legs. Li had more powerful, muscular and beautiful gams!

  5. Marija Post author

    Jim, I didn’t really have the “chicken legs” in mind, but overall she definitely looks like Bouchard, more than anyone else.

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