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Li Na announces her retirement

By Nicolas Bonnet   on   Friday 19 September 2014
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  The news of China's Li Na retirement due to yet another knee injury has sent shockwaves through the world of women's tennis.

China's Li Na has decided to hang up her racquets. The 32-year-old is being forced to retire from the sport after suffering a number of knee injuries which have ended up curtailing her career. She bows out while she is still No.6 in the world and a mega-star in her native country. Her most recent match was at Wimbledon back in June, when she fell in the third round to Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic. And though we did not realise it at the time, that was to be the last time that we would see her on court in a competitive match.

She made her name for herself on the global stage in 2011 when she won the French Open, and she went on to capture her second Slam at the start of this year in Australia.

In an open letter to her fans, Li spoke of the reasons behind her retirement. "After four knee surgeries and hundreds of shots injected into my knee weekly to alleviate swelling and pain, my body is begging me to stop the pounding. My previous three surgeries were on my right knee. My most recent knee surgery took place this July and was on my left knee. One of my goals was to recover as fast as I could in order to be ready for the first WTA tournament in my hometown of Wuhan. As hard as I tried to get back to being 100%, my body kept telling me that, at 32, I will not be able to compete at the top level ever again. The sport is just too competitive, too good, to not be 100%."

Li was known as much for her vivacious personality and sense of humour as for her tennis, but she will of course go down in history as the first Asian woman to win a Grand Slam – a feat which she achieved on Philippe Chatrier Court three years ago when she defeated reigning champion Francesca Schiavone at Roland Garros.

As well as her two majors, Li won seven other singles titles and rose to No.2 in the world on 17 February this year after her Australian Open win. She is now looking forward to a new chapter in her life, which will involve her working with the sports management agency IMG, opening the forthcoming Li Na tennis academy and continuing her involvement with a charity which helps underprivileged children.

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