Li Na (李娜) is a Chinese professional tennis player. She won the 2011 French Open singles title, becoming the first player from an Asian country to win a Grand Slam in singles. She announced her retirement from professional tennis on Sept. 19, 2014 via her weibo, Chinese version of Twitter.
Born on Feb. 26, 1982 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, Li changed from badminton to tennis when she was 9. She has won 23 singles’ titles and 18 doubles’ titles, including ITF events and WTA tour.
Li made the history by becoming the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam singles final in the 2011 Australia Open. As of Jan. 31, 2011, Li is ranked No. 7 in the world, a career high. She has a powerful groundstroke, quick reflexes, balanced forehand and backhand skills and dexterous techniques at the baseline. Her strong sense of humor also won her popularity among overseas audiences.
In 2011, Li defeated the top-seeded Italian, Francesca Schiavone, who won the French Open singles a year ago, winning the Grand Slam championship and becoming the first Chinese to grab the title. Her ranking thus rose from No. 7 to No. 4 in the world, an achievement that few Asian players besides Kimiko Date-Krumm, of Japan, had ever accomplished.
In 2001, she grabbed gold medals in the singles’, doubles’ and mixed doubles’ at the National Universiade Sports. In 2011, Li Na won at Sydney against Kim Clijsters, whom she lost to at the Australian Open.
On May 20, 2012, Li Na won the second of the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome.
On August 19, 2012, she won the first WTA title since the 2011 French Open victory in Cincinnati after beating Angelique Kerber 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
On Jan. 24, 2013, Li Na advanced to finals of the Australian Open.
In July, 2013, Li Na advanced to the quarter-finals in the quarter-finals in the Wimbledon women's singles.
On Sept. 4, 2013, Li Na beat Ekaterina Makarova from Russia, becoming the first Chinese player to reach U.S. Open semi-final.
On Jan. 25, 2014, Li Na won her first Australian Open women's singles title after beating Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7- 3), 6-0 in the final.
On Sept. 6, 2013, Li Na received the Second Annual U.S. Open Sportsmanship Award at the U.S. Open from Immediate Past President Jon Vegosen of the United States Tennis Association (USTA). The award was presented to the male and female professional tennis players who best demonstrate excellence in sportsmanship throughout the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series and the U.S. Open.
On Jan. 11, 2014, Li Na won the Best Female Athletes of the Year separately at China's Central Television (CCTV) Sports Awards.
On Feb. 11, 2015, Li Na was nominated for sportswoman of the year in the Laureus World Sports Awards.
On April 15, 2015, Li Na won the Exceptional Achievement award instead of the Sportswoman of the Year in a six-person competition, for her contribution to the promotion of the sport in China, at the 16th Laureus World Sports Awards in Shanghai.
In May 2016, Li Na was named global ambassador for the Wuhan Open, a WTA Premier 5 event held in her hometown in September of the year.
Li Na is married to Jiang Shan, who was also her former coach. She announced her pregnancy at the Australian Open 2015.
She gave birth to a baby girl on June 3, 2015. The baby's name is Alisa.