World number two Li Na has used World Tennis Day to declare she has set her sights not only adding to her grand slam collection, but to become the number one player in the world.
“I’d like to take them both,” said the world number two. “But now I am at the highest ranking of my career and of course I want to be number one. that is the goal of all athletes.”
Fresh from victory in the first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open, and from achieving a career high in world rankings, Li is in town for the BNP Paribas Showdown exhibition event tonight at the Hong Kong Velodrome.
The event will see her face Australia’s for US Open winner Sam Stosur, while the other match on the programme features former world number one Lleyton Hewitt against world number six Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
Li revealed she had felt much more composed during her run to her straight-sets victory over Dominika Cibulkova in Melbourne in January, compared to when she won her first grand slam title at the 2011 French Open.
“I think this time [the pressure] was much less than the first time. When I won the French Open I didn’t have any experience,” said the 32-year-old. “Also with my team then nobody told me what I should do. This time I was working with [coach] Carlos [Rodriguez] and he has a lot of experience and he told me what I should do. And I am getting old. I have more experience on and off the court now so I know what I should do.”
Li said she was looking forward to testing herself against Stosur tonight, a player she has never previously beaten in six attempts, and that she was still enjoying the game, even after more than a decade on tour.
“There is no pressure at all,” said Li. “I am enjoying the game and still learning a lot.”