TENNIS GREAT LI NA BECOMES 60TH MEMBER OF LAUREUS WORLD SPORTS ACADEMY
- Pioneering Chinese tennis star Li Na joins Laureus Family in Paris, the city where she made history as a player
- ‘I’m honoured to join this incredible team of sporting legends in the Laureus World Sports Academy’ says Li Na
- Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick inducts Li Na into the Laureus Academy
- ‘She is a role model for youngsters in China and around the world’ says Fitzpatrick
- Images of Li Na available at www.laureusarchive.com
PARIS, June 1, 2016 – Legendary Chinese tennis star Li Na has been named the 60th member of the Laureus World Sports Academy. She was inducted in Paris, the city where she became the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam title in 2011.
The former world No.2 joins the Laureus Academy with the goal of spreading the positive message that sport can inspire, provide hope and empower young people around the world. The 34-year-old joins 59 fellow sporting legends in the Laureus Academy including tennis greats Boris Becker, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles.
One of China’s greatest ever athletes, Li Na’s tennis career was defined by firsts. She was the first Chinese player to win a WTA title, the first Chinese player to break into the top ten in the world rankings and the first Asian player ever to win a Grand Slam.
Speaking in Paris, Laureus Academy Member Li Na , said: “ Sport has given me so much throughout my life. The lessons I learned, the wins and the losses made me into the person I am today. I’m honoured to join this incredible team of sporting legends in the Laureus Academy and I’m looking forward to working with my fellow Academy Members, supporting the work of Laureus Sport for Good and inspiring young people around the world through sport . I am so happy that this is happening in Paris, which is a city which means so much to me.”
Li Na was welcomed into the Academy in Paris by Laureus Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick . Sean said: “ Li Na is one of China’s greatest ever athletes and I’m delighted to welcome her into the Laureus Academy. Throughout her career she became an icon of the sport of tennis and a role model for youngsters in China and around the world. I know she is looking forward to taking her passion for sport into her role as an Academy Member. Li Na is a great pioneer for tennis in her country. There are already a lot more Chinese players out there and I think we'll see even more in the future thanks to Li Na.”
A talented tennis player from a young age, Li Na became professional in 1999 and went on to win nine singles Women's Tennis Association and 19 International Tennis Federation titles throughout her career. As well as winning the 2011 French Open, Li Na also achieved Grand Slam glory at the Australian Open in 2014. She retired from the professional game in September 2014 following a serious knee injury. In 2015, Li Na was presented with the Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Shanghai.
Laureus Academy Members support the work of Laureus Sport for Good. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €100 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. The mission of Laureus Sport for Good is to use sport as a means to tackle some of the toughest social challenges facing young people today such as violence, discrimination and disadvantage.
In China, Laureus currently supports the Special Olympics movement through the Unified Sports programme. The programme works throughout China and involves over 50,000 athletes and partners, focusing on the issue of inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities directly with their peers.