The first to honor the great Chinese was Stacey Allaster, the Chairsperson and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association, but it was just an official warm-up before the heartfelt speech of Petra Kvitova, whose address, on behalf of the WTA players, quickly wet the eyes of the crowd at the Diamond Court, as well as of players like Jelena Jankovic, Caroline Wozniacki, Sabine Lisicki, Carla Suarez Navarro, and others.
From the start Kvitova’s voice was trembling and there were tears in her eyes, but everyone’s emotions burst out when she ended the speech by saying:
Thank you for being our opponent, thank you for being our inspiration and thank you for being our friend. We will miss you, champion.
The lovely Li made a video collage of her fans’ support throughout her career, while the final surprise of the farewell was the appearance of Li’s husband Jiang Shan, who walked in together with ATP star Rafael Nadal.
Earlier this month the two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No.2 Li also had a farewell ceremony during the Wuhan Open, a new tournament in her hometown.