Things will get better for Li Na: WTA head

Updated: 2011-10-08 08:07

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

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Will things get better for Li Na? The chief of women's tennis thinks so.

China's first Grand Slam champion, Li, has plunged into a career valley following her French Open victory in May, suffering early exits at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Her unexpected first-round exit at the China Open even triggered some catcalls from the home crowd.

Stacey Allaster, chairman and CEO of the WTA, said Li will benefit from a much-needed break.

"She's already had an incredible year, (regardless of the recent setbacks)," Allaster said.

"Going to back-to-back Grand Slam finals on two different surfaces is an incredible accomplishment. It's a long season with a lot of emotions and pressure for her. It's a real testament. She still has a lot to do on and off the court. But she's gonna be fine, she just needs some rest."

Li has enjoyed increasing commercial success, with endorsements reportedly valued at $50 million, but Allaster shrugged that off as a cause, stressing ups and downs are normal.

"In women's tennis, there is so much depth, so much competitiveness," she said. "On any given day, a player in the top 40 can beat the No 1 in the world. It's much easier to get on the top than to stay there."

Despite her quick elimination from the China Open, Li secured a spot in the WTA Championships, becoming the first Chinese player in the singles event.

"Hopefully, she's saved some room for the championships and will finish the year the way she started," Allaster said.

The year-end finale, which will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from Oct 25-30, will feature the top eight singles players and top four doubles teams competing for the title and a share of $5 million in prize money.