Li takes Australia glory in her stride

Li Na is confident she will take winning the Australian Open title in her stride.

Li takes Australia glory in her stride

The 31-year-old added a second grand slam title to the French Open crown she won in 2011 with victory over Dominika Cibulkova at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

Li was the first Chinese player to win a grand slam singles title and 116 million people watched her Roland Garros triumph on TV in her home country. It turned Li into a megastar and the pressure on her shoulders and on her time was something she really struggled to deal with.

She won only six more matches in 2011 and it was not until she linked up with Justine Henin’s former coach Carlos Rodriguez in summer 2012 that she became a grand slam contender again.

“When I won the French Open I really didn’t prepare for that. I didn’t know what I should do after the win. Also nobody told me what I should do,” Li said.

“I think now it’s different because I prepared to win the grand slam.

“This time I was thinking about if I win or if I lose, what kind of life I will have.”

Winning in Australia was the title Li really wanted after losing in the final in 2011 and 2013. The victory moves her to within 11 points of Victoria Azarenka when the new rankings are released today.

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up