Li Na officially announced her retirement from professional tennis at 11 am today on her Sina Weibo account. The 32-year-old two-time Grand Slam champion cited knee injuries as the reason.
She doesn’t appear to want to completely leave the sport, though. In her own words:
That I had this very rare opportunity to represent China on the tennis courts, for me there is no higher honor. Through this opportunity I hope to have attracted more people to pay attention to China and Asian tennis. This will also be my life mission going forward.
Li Na became the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam when she captured the French Open title in 2011. She added a second major championship this January when she won the Australian Open, delighting the Melbourne crowd in the process.
She’ll be okay in her future endeavors, whatever they may be. As the New York Times notes: “In a Forbes listing of the highest-paid athletes this year, Li’s annual earnings of $23.6 million put her second among female athletes.”
The WTA will hold a press conference his Saturday in Beijing and on September 23 in Li’s native Wuhan. An official WTA retirement ceremony is planned for Monday, September 29 in Beijing.
Also see: NY Times Magazine’s profile of her, “Li Na, China’s Tennis Rebel.”