Li Na named Best Female Athlete of the Year 2014 in China

Li Na Best Chinese Athlete for 2014

Li Na won the Best Female Athletes of the Year 2014 award at the annual China’s Central Television Sports Awards, considered the country’s top sporting honor. The Sports Special Contribution award also went into Li’s hands, for her significance in the development of Chinese tennis.

Li Na left the world of competitive tennis in September 2014, but her achievements and importance for the popularity of tennis in China, and even in Asia as a whole, will stay remembered in history. Now the two-time Grand Slam champion is happily expecting a baby with her husband Jiang Shan and occasionally attending tournaments as a guest.

Li Na with her husband

Will there be a successor to Li Na? In search of such a person, media have already put considerable pressure on Xu Shilin, known as Coco, who was top seed in junior girls’ draw at the 2015 Australian Open. Coco’s family left China when she was a child, moving to Florida in search of better prospects for her tennis career, and although the 17-year-old, now back in China, is still ranked only No.565, she has already cashed in on racket, apparel and smartphone sponsors.

Still, I like this quote of Zhang Bendou, a tennis reporter for the Chinese website Titan Sports:

More and more people realize that what Li Na did is uncopyable. Not only because of what she did on court but also because of her personality, the special timing she had, the transition from system to the professional tour.

(source: Women of China)

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7 thoughts on “Li Na named Best Female Athlete of the Year 2014 in China

  1. Jade

    I don’t see another Asian winning a slam anytime soon. Li was lucky to win that Australian slam. Maybe next 100 years a Chinese woman might win a slam. Li was a likable player and I wish her a lot of success .

  2. Marija Post author

    Jade, me neither, but again we’ve seen many young players rise up to prominence within months. I’m really looking forward to seeing whether WTA’s efforts in China/Asia will pay off and produce new talent.

  3. Jim

    Jade, maybe the tennis gods looked down and smiled and allowed her to win last years Aussie Open, because she had been so unlucky in 2011 and 2013, having a much tougher draw in those years. Even so, she and Cibulkova seemed to be the fittest last year..able to endure all the extreme heat, where everyone else wilted under the sun. I think Li is indeed a very good person, and will have a bright future in whatever she does.

  4. Marija Post author

    Jim, I agree, Li’s AO win was well deserved. It was a pleasure seeing everything coming into place for her.

  5. Emman Damian

    She won French Open in 2011 and Australian Open in 2014. I think she has been a runner up at AO for few times. Anyway, she is undeniably the best Chinese tennis player ever. No one can replace not can replicate her success. Definitely, all emerging Chinese players will feel the pressure because of Li’s legacy.

  6. Marija Post author

    Emman Damian, hey thanks for this note. It was my mistake. I meant to say two-time Grand Slam champ, and she played two AO finals…

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