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.
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.
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.
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.