Excerpt from her official Facebook letter (read the full letter) :
My dear friends,
For close to fifteen years, we’ve been a part of each other’s lives. As a tennis player representing China on the global stage, I’ve trekked around the world playing hundreds of matches on the WTA tour, for China’s Fed Cup team, at the National Games and at several Olympic Games. You’ve always been there for me, supporting me, cheering me on, and encouraging me to reach my potential.
Representing China on the tennis court was an extraordinary privilege and a true honor. Having the unique opportunity to effectively bring more attention to the sport of tennis in China and all over Asia is something I will cherish forever. But in sport, just like in life, all great things must come to an end.
2014 has become one of the most significant years in my career and my life. This year was full of amazing highlights, which included winning my second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open and sharing the extraordinary experience with my country, my team, my husband and my fans. It was also a year filled with difficult moments, such as having to deal with the inevitable - making the decision to end my professional tennis career.
The amazing moment in Australia was filled with joy, happiness and extraordinary sense of accomplishment. The task of finally making a decision to hang up my racquet felt a lot more difficult than winning seven matches in a row in the Australian heat. It took me several agonizing months to finally come to the decision that my chronic injuries will never again let me be the tennis player that I can be. Walking away from the sport, effective immediately, is the right decision for me and my family.
I’m really going to miss you a lot. Your smile, your tennis- everything. The way you never fail to make everyone laugh during your interviews. How your backhand is such a joy to watch in your good days. How there are days where your tennis is t e r r i b l e and sob, why. How you name your rackets Li Na #1 to Li Na #6. ALSO, BEST SPEECH GIVER ON BOTH TOURS, not gonna lie.
You’re the best champion we can ask for, and not just because you’ve won many titles, and have multiple slams. Who you are, what you represent- it’s bigger than the sport. It’s been a journey being your fan. I want to be selfish and say I want you to never stop playing tennis, but you’ve given a lot of happiness to me (and sadness, also see: frustration, sigh) and I can’t ask for more.
I wish you all the best. Xie xie, Empress Li. Xie xie.
When I started playing tennis, I was just a neighborhood kid with an after-school hobby, not realizing what magical journey lay ahead of me. If I only knew what a vehicle the sport of tennis, along with my success, would become for my beloved China. While my journey hasn’t been easy, it has been rewarding. I’ve seen change happening in front of my eyes, young girls picking up tennis racquets, setting goals, following their hearts and believing in themselves. I hope that I’ve had the opportunity to inspire young women all over China to believe in themselves, to set their goals high and pursue them with vengeance and self-belief.
Whether you want to be a tennis player, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or a business leader, I urge you to believe in yourself and follow your dream. If I could do it, you can too! Be the bird that sticks out. With hard work, your dreams will come true."Li Na’s retirement letter, which is really worth reading in its entirety. (via decrescendo)
Julianne Hough and Derek Hough reaction to Derek’s audition tape for Dancing with the Stars.
I hope the sun shines, and it’s a beautiful day and something reminds you, you wish you had stayed…
Spinning like a girl in a brand new dress,
We had this big wide city all to ourselves.