This lady's no 'one-Slam wonder'
Updated: 2014-03-05 11:05
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Li Na of China poses with The Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after defeating Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in their women's singles final match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne, Jan 25, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
Be there twice and then you understand what it takes to get there again: That's how much Li Na's second Grand Slam championship matters for her future career.
Claiming a Grand Slam championship brings fame and wealth for a tennis player but it also raises doubts whether you can do it again. Those who successfully delivered more titles cemented their status as honored champions while others who failed to touch a crown again become "one-Slam wonders".
Li proved her legitimacy as a champion by adding another major trophy at Melbourne Park in January and has set her eyes on more to come.
"I've already got two Grand Slam titles in my pocket and nobody can ever take them away," Li says.
"After I won my first (the French Open in 2011), people said it's good luck and there remain some who believe I won't be able to get my third. I don't care how people made their judgment as I am so proud of myself."
Li is the only Asian player, man or woman, to win two Grand Slam singles titles. She is the highest-ranking Asian athlete as the world No 2.
Her coach Carlos Rodriguez, former mentor of Belgium great Justine Henin, says the second title has distinguished Li from most of the others and finally helped her build up some self-affirmation.
"I expect she could understand that now she has the capacity and ability to win another one and more," says Rodriguez, who started to coach Li in the summer of 2012. "It's not tennis, not the physical status that's going to make the difference. It's what you have inside, the love and passion for the game to really make a difference and bring your tennis to another dimension."
Having realized the goal of cracking the top three or winning another major that she set last year, Li now has her sights on something bigger.
"I definitely hope to further improve my rankings (to the No 1 spot) or win my third Grand Slam. But I won't set a deadline to push myself to achieve it within this year."
Li has a lot of work to do before taking over the No 1 position from 17-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams, says Rodriguez.
"I believe she can go one more step, like No 1 in the world. If she wants to achieve that, it means there is a lot of work. She has to do more, to take more options and risks. That's the only way and she understands."