CHINA - Li Na, the first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles title in tennis, announced her retirement from the sport on Friday. Known also for her wit, her wisdom and her pithy one-liners, below are a selection from her years on the tennis circuit:
On her strong work ethic:
"I think many young players don't know about working, they can get whatever they want. They think 'I need a phone, I need a computer.' The family just gives it to them. They don't need to do something to get it. After my father died, my mom had to take care of everything. It was tough for her. I learned a lot from her about working hard for everything."
On male Chinese players:
"I think they're strong in the body, but not so strong in the mind. They have to believe in themselves more. Right now they think, 'Oh, my ranking is around 300, that's perfect'. But it's not perfect. I mean, 300 is nothing in the whole world. So they need to have high goals. The women are doing well but I hope one day the men can grow up as well. They are lazy."
"With Chinese banks, if you use the credit card, they will send a text message, where you are, when, and how much you're using. If I use it, he will for sure know what I'm doing. He will call, 'Where are you?' I can use the credit card, but he's still totally in control."
"My husband has changed since we got married and so have I. Before we were married, I would say to him, 'I'm going shopping' and he would say, 'Okay, fine'. Now, I say that I'm going shopping and he says, 'Why are you always going shopping?'"
On having husband as coach:
"It can be tough. It's like, 'wife, husband, player, coach'. Sometimes if I'm working hard on the court, I want to have a five-minute break and he says, 'No, we should keep going'. I say: 'You're my husband, why don't you listen to me?' On the tennis court, I should listen to him. We've had arguments, a little bit of fighting. I only have to listen to him on the court, nowhere else."
"My husband's probably more famous than me. After the Australian Open last year, we were on the plane in Hong Kong, and a stewardess said to me, 'Hey, that guy is Li Na's husband'. I said to her: 'Yeah, yeah, he looks like him, so many people say that'. After about half an hour, the stewardess came back to me and said: 'Oh, I'm really sorry, I didn't realise you are Li Na'.