(Reuters) – China will most probably produce some other Grand Slam ladies’s champion within the subsequent decade, predicts Li Na, the one participant from her country to style victory in any of tennis’s 4 largest tournaments.
As Li prepares to mirror on her occupation at her induction into the Tennis Corridor of Status in Newport, Rhode Island on Saturday, she has a watch on the way forward for the game in her house nation.
She stated the transfer of the WTA Finals to Shenzhen for the following decade — the primary time beginning in October — will encourage Chinese language gamers, even supposing they aren’t enjoying the development.
“(Having the development in China is) now not best just right for the lovers, additionally it is just right for the athletes, particularly the younger athletes,” the two times Grand Slam champion advised Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
“Face-to-face they may be able to see the highest gamers. It is not best at the courtroom but additionally off the courtroom, the pro tennis existence (this is necessary).”
Till Japan’s Naomi Osaka received remaining yr’s U.S. Open, Li was once the one Grand Slam winner from Asia, male or feminine, and she or he would be the first inducted into the Corridor of Status.
China has 4 ladies ranked on the planet’s best 100 however no males within the best 200.
Unsurprisingly, Li stated it was once much more likely a lady would win the country’s subsequent Grand Slam.
“I believe the ladies’s aspect is way more uncomplicated as a result of once I received the Grand Slam, younger ladies suppose they may be able to do the similar,” she stated. “For the boys’s, it is a little bit difficult.”
Li, 37, retired in 2014 after fighting knee accidents for a number of years.
She is seven months more youthful than Roger Federer and was once glued to the tv within the wee hours of the night time in Beijing observing Sunday’s vintage five-set Wimbledon ultimate.
Li may just now not imagine that Federer blew two fit issues on serve in defeat to Novak Djokovic.
“I believed, ‘OK, it is over’,” she stated. “After observing the fit I could not fall asleep. It was once like 3 o’clock within the morning. It was once so thrilling.”
So what did she make of Djokovic’s comeback?: “Just one factor, how sturdy his thoughts is, so difficult.”
Li by no means made it previous the quarter-finals at the grass of Wimbledon, her Grand Slam titles approaching clay on the 2011 French Open and hardcourt on the 2014 Australian Open.
She additionally misplaced two Australian Open finals, the primary in 2011, a fit she strangely ranks as the most efficient reminiscence of her occupation in spite of defeat in 3 units to Kim Clijsters.
“I used to be truly with regards to taking the trophy,” Li stated.
“Even supposing I did not win the fit, it nonetheless gave me a large number of self assurance.”
Li stated her perfect occupation efficiency didn’t come at a Grand Slam, alternatively, however in Stuttgart, the place she beat Serena Williams 0-6 6-1 6-Four in 2008.
“Handiest when I beat Serena,” Li stated, guffawing when requested whether or not Williams have been her hardest opponent.
(Reporting by way of Andrew Each in Cary, North Carolina; Enhancing by way of Ian Ransom)