Monday, January 31, 2011

The delightful Li Na. Congratulations anyway!

Notice how Li Na seemed happy even in defeat at last Saturday's Australian Open Final? She looked thrilled to just be there at the end of a hard fought match. She was delighted, and having a good time at the finish.

Li Na played a great tournament all through, especially a top class semi final and final. She went down fighting to Kim Clijsters, and dominated the match until the middle part. She likely won ten-fold more admirers in the tennis world with this performance (despite asking the umpire to tell loud Chinese fans not to 'teach me how to play tennis' in the II set).

And at the end, there was no disappointment shown externally. Li Na had quietly gone further than any Asian in Grand Slam singles competition. She was no 'storms in, crashes out' first round specialist

She smiled as she sat courtside after her loss, smiled as she chatted with Kim C on the podium, and then gave a graceful, cheerful speech. Gamely, in English, to a vast audience. It was all a good feeling.

As she posed for post match pictures, all dressed up as she held her runner-up plate, she still looked as pleased.

(Now watch for several new Chinese players on the tour. They'll have added this to their production lines)