The wonderful Li Na, China’s first and only Grand Slam winner, announced that she’s throwing in the towel for good today in a letter posted on social media, citing worsening knee problems as the main reason.
“Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honor,” she wrote to her fans in a letter published on Facebook and Weibo this morning. “But in sport, just like in life, all great things must come to an end.”
The 32-year-old tennis star explained that she’d been coping with chronic knee problems throughout her career and after four surgeries and hundreds of injections to help ease the pain, “my body is begging me to stop the pounding.”
Li said that coming back from her most recent surgery, “it felt different”.
“As hard as I tried to get back to being 100%, my body kept telling me that, at 32, I will not be able to compete at the top level ever again. The sport is just too competitive, too good, to not be 100%.”
Li won her, and China’s, first Grand Slam title at the 2011 French Open and bagged her second Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open this past January (prompting a brilliant speech afterwards).
The Wuhan-native has experienced a somewhat complicated relationship with her home country. Her success came after she detached herself from the state-run sports system, and she’s dually applauded by the Chinese media for her accomplishments and chastised for being unpatriotic and “capricious“.
We imagine she’ll be resting that knee comfortably on her bountiful piles of wealth.