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Evergreen Li is determined to stick around

Friday, February 01, 2013

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Li Na is confident she can use her hard-won experience to hold off the emerging generation of players as she chases more Grand Slam glory.

The former French Open champion came up short against world No1 Victoria Azarenka in the Australian Open final last weekend, but predicts another two years at the top of the women's game.

World No5 Li turns 31 next month.

"Right now I've been playing for many years so I've got some experience as well," she said. "And also, never give up. This for me is more important and also why I can keep the level for a couple of years."

Li, pictured, is due to play an exhibition match against Caroline Wozniacki in Hong Kong on March 4 as part of the BNP Paribas Tennis Showdown.

She would not be drawn on how long she will continue. "I don't think too far. You never know how the body is feeling and everyone is different," Li said. "Maybe one day after waking up I will feel my body can't handle it any more and I will retire."

But the winner of seven WTA titles would like to secure another Grand Slam, and with compatriots Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai also in the world's top 50, Li is confident that tennis in China has a strong future. "I know right now so many children want to take up a tennis racket. It's not only because of Li Na, it's because China tennis is growing."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


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