Chinese No. 1 Li Na made history yesterday as the oldest player to win the Australian Open title in the Open Era, as she lifted the trophy on her third attempt at the age of 31 years. The win was a dominant one, as she defeated first-time finalist Dominika Cibulkova 7-6(3), 6-0 to win her elusive second Grand Slam title.
Having to constantly deal with a barrage of questions regarding her age, Li Na admit that it is a relief to win a title so late into her career in order to silence her doubters. She also admit that she is happy with her age and chalks it up to added experience in her life.
“I’m not old! But yeah, at the start of the tournament everyone was talking about age. I would like to say age is nothing. You can still win a Grand Slam. I’m pretty happy about my age. I have experience.”
Prior to the start of the event, the Chinese No. 1 had revealed that she had considered retiring last year but later changed her mind, as she was determined to achieve her goals before retiring from the sport. Self-belief and the support from her coach, Carlos Rodriguez, has been pivotal in her continued success on the tour.
“You know, last year when I said I wanted to be Top 3 in the world, nobody believed me. And at the beginning of this year I said I wanted to win another Grand Slam title, and nobody believed me.
The most important thing is I believe, Carlos believes and my team believes. That’s all.”
While Li was not clear on her future goals in the sport, but hinted at her interest in winning more Grand Slam titles. She is aware of the task at hand and embraces the hard work ahead of her.
“It’s very easy to say I want to win another one, but I know how much work it takes to win a Grand Slam. So if I want to win another one or two, I have to go back on the court and work very hard.
“Otherwise, no chance.”