When speaking exclusively to both beijingkids and theBeijinger last year, Li Na said that she was ready to win and indeed she was. Twice denied her favorite Grand Slam, women’s world number 4 finally lifted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup on January 25 saying, "finally I got him, her, finally got her. Last two times were very close."
She beat Dominika Cibulkova from Slovakia 7-6 (3), 6-0 and later congratulated her opponent for a good game and wished the 20th seed the best of luck in her future games. Li Na becomes the oldest woman to win the Australian Grand slam at the age of 31 (she turns 32 next month) in the Open era.
Aside from being widely popular at Melbourne park, she is best know for her post- match interviews and she did not disappoint her fans during her first victory speech. Li Na had a list of people to thank starting off with her agent Max, "for making her rich."
Then her physiotherapist who she has worked with for four years without incurring major injuries till last year’s final. She did admit that that fall was her fault but thanked him by saying, "you are doing a good job."
Seven months ago, Li Na had considered leaving the sport she came to love but was talked out of it by her coach, Carlos Rodriguez who she also acknowledged in her speech for his cool demeanor and believing in her according to ESPN.com
"When he was coaching me he always say believe in yourself. He always believed in me, I never believed in myself. That was my problem."
Li Na after huggin her opponent and fighting back tears ran to shake hands with her coach on the sidelines wearing a big grin.
She finished off with her husband Shan Jiang, former coach and constant traveling companion saying, "so thanks for him give up everything just traveling with me to be my hitting partner, fix drinks, fix the racket. So thanks a lot, you are a nice guy." She had to wait for the laughter to die down at the Rod Laver Crowd to continue,"Also you are so lucky, find me."
Watch her shortened speech here on the official Australian Open Website.
We have not seen the last of Li Na as she vows to be back at her favorite major next year to win again.
Read our blog to find out about Li Na’s biography and thoughts on the ‘tiger’ parenting style.
Photo courtesy of Sunday world