Tennis Icon Li Na Officially Announces Retirement
Excerpt from her official Facebook letter (read the full letter) :
My dear friends,
For close to fifteen years, we’ve been a part of each other’s lives. As a tennis player representing China on the global stage, I’ve trekked around the world playing hundreds of matches on the WTA tour, for China’s Fed Cup team, at the National Games and at several Olympic Games. You’ve always been there for me, supporting me, cheering me on, and encouraging me to reach my potential.
Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honor. Having the unique opportunity to effectively bring more attention to the sport of tennis in China and all over Asia is something I will cherish forever. But in sport, just like in life, all great things must come to an end.
2014 has become one of the most significant years in my career and my life. This year was full of amazing highlights, which included winning my second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open and sharing the extraordinary experience with my country, my team, my husband and my fans. It was also a year filled with difficult moments, such as having to deal with the inevitable - making the decision to end my professional tennis career.
The amazing moment in Australia was filled with joy, happiness and extraordinary sense of accomplishment. The task of finally making a decision to hang up my racquet felt a lot more difficult than winning seven matches in a row in the Australian heat. It took me several agonizing months to finally come to the decision that my chronic injuries will never again let me be the tennis player that I can be. Walking away from the sport, effective immediately, is the right decision for me and my family.
I’m really going to miss you a lot. Your smile, your tennis- everything. The way you never fail to make everyone laugh during your interviews. How your backhand is such a joy to watch in your good days. How there are days where your tennis is t e r r i b l e and sob, why. How you name your rackets Li Na #1 to Li Na #6. ALSO, BEST SPEECH GIVER ON BOTH TOURS, not gonna lie.
You’re the best champion we can ask for, and not just because you’ve won many titles, and have multiple slams. Who you are, what you represent- it’s bigger than the sport. It’s been a journey being your fan. I want to be selfish and say I want you to never stop playing tennis, but you’ve given a lot of happiness to me (and sadness, also see: frustration, sigh) and I can’t ask for more.
I wish you all the best. Xie xie, Empress Li. Xie xie.