Skip to comments.French Open Title 2011: China's Li Na makes history by beating Francesca Schiavone
Posted on 06/05/2011 6:14:41 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Let the revolution begin. Li Na made history at the French Open on Saturday when she became the first Chinese player to win a grand slam singles title. Her 6-4, 7-6 victory over last year's champion, Francesca Schiavone of Italy, was a performance full of maturity, class and guts and when the pressure came late in the second set, she held firm. If this does not spark a new wave of Chinese players in the years to come then probably nothing will.
An estimated audience of 65 million watched the final on television and online in China but the 29-year-old, who pocketed a cool ¤1.2m (£1m) for her troubles, will have to wait until after Wimbledon before she has time to fly home. "If I don't do well at Wimbledon maybe people will forget me already," she said. "But if a Chinese player can win a grand slam maybe it proves a lot for Chinese tennis. I believe Chinese tennis will get bigger and bigger."
Having reached the final of the Australian Open in January, it looked as if Li's second opportunity for glory might be slipping away when, leading by a set and 4-2, she became tight. Perhaps it was the pressure of those watching at home, perhaps it was simply the occasion, but as she faltered, Schiavone moved to within two points of forcing it into a decider.
But as the crowd roared for the Italian, Li showed her mettle and held firm. Twice she held serve to stay in the set and she then played a flawless tie-break to win it 7-0. As a Schiavone backhand drifted over the baseline, a disbelieving Li fell to the clay and put her hands to her face.
(Excerpt) Read more at guardian.co.uk ...
Great match to watch, but had to mute it. Could not handle the italian’s service shriek. My wife asked me “is she yelling ‘f*ck’ when serves?”
Great to watch though
sports are truly the last meritocracy. The Chinese will work and work and work ntil they produce champions.
I had a work colleague about 10 years ago who grew up in China until he was 18. His parenst sent him to a government run school just for table tennis (ping pong). He went to that school for over 5 years. Played ping pong up to 10 hours a day.
I used to think I was a good ping pong player. We had a table in the break area at work and had some great little tournaments. Then the Chinese guy shows up. He was just dominant. He could use either hand at will. Once or twice i would score a point of him. He was gracious about it. Back home he was justa average. After 5 years in the school they knew he wouldn’t be a world class player so he stopped.
The point is I bet they have thousands of youngsters in schools like this for tennis. Give them some time and you’ll see dozens of world class players crowding out westerners.
I’m bummed at the decline of tennis in the US (from a fan’s perspective). Growing in the 70’s and 80’s the major matches were appointment viewing. Connors, Borg, Lendl, MacEnroe, Becker, Agassi, Sampras, Everett, Navratalova (I know I may have spelled some names wrong...)
My wife and I play for fun and exercise and my 6 and 4 year old boys are showing interest. But trying to wrap my head around sending my sons to a school to exclusively play tennis for hours and hours a day year after year...it’s just insane. I know people do it. Thousands of Chinese kids are probably doing it. Oh well....
“The Chinese will work and work and work ntil they produce champions.”
Ironically, what it took to produce the first GS Champ from China was not the state run Chinese camps.
She took advantage of a “Fly Alone” program where she was allowed to pick her own coach, versus the chosen Chinese coaches.
In this program she also gets to keep all of her earnings, less 12 % to China. Other Pro Athletes must give 65% to China.
RE: She took advantage of a Fly Alone program where she was allowed to pick her own coach, versus the chosen Chinese coaches.
Hey, this is really PRO-CHOICE and I didn’t know that Chi-Coms allow that option.
Now, if we taxpayers in the USA could have a similar progream they provided for the likes of Li Na where for instance, we can have the choice of filing the FLAT TAX way as opposed to the current TRADITIONAL WAY ( where we have to wade through thousands of pages of tax code ), maybe we’d be better than China.
Let’s call this the “FLY-ALONE” way of filing your taxes.
In every sport, parents have to realistic about their child’s chances of success. As a former coach in youth basketball, I wanted kids to practice in their offtime, but I would never tell a kid to practice if they didn’t love doing it. Obviously, very few kids have the raw athletic ability to be a champion in any sport. Parents overestimating their kid’s abilities is common.
ain’t that the truth. I hate the rampant specialization too. When I was a kid I played football, basketball, baseball, rugby, hockey, wrestling - I managed to be good at all of them. Glad my dad didn’t force me to play one sport year round with special coaches etc.
I know tennis is a different animal, and it’s easier to get the personalized coaching. I guess you have to pick your poison. My wife had a similar obsessed parent, but it wasn’t with sports, it was piano. She had hours and hours of lessons and practice her whole life. Not quite to “Tiger Mom” extremes, but similar.
My wife (who is Chinese) had to turn off CCTV News last night because they kept going on and on about Li Na.