By Erik Gudris/ Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Li Na feels this season is much better for the Chinese superstar than previous ones. The Chinese star opened her Istanbul campaign with a straight sets win.
Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve
Li Na feels that 2013 has been a better season for her than when she won the French Open title a few years ago.
Speaking before the start of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships this week in Istanbul, Li reflected on her more consistent results this year.
"At least this year I was feeling start beginning of the year until now I always stay like same level, not like before," Li said. "Maybe 2011 I win Grand Slam, but other tournaments I have not good result. So this year doesn't matter if like Grand Slam or even international tournament. I always play well. Yeah, is more, how you say, is more controlled, the year."
While Li catapulted to international fame after winning the French Open in 2011, her results after that breakthrough win were less than stellar. Despite signing lucrative sponsorship deals that made her one of the highest paid female athletes in the world, Li struggled to deal with her new celebrity status.
But two years later, Li is back on track. Thanks in large part to her ongoing partnership with coach Carlos Rodriguez, Li is enjoying one of her best seasons on tour that includes winning one title and reaching the Australian Open finals back in January.
Though that one title early in the year at Shenzhen may feel like not enough for a top 10 player like Li, she doesn't see it that way.
"I don't know how the other player, but for me didn't matter how many tournament you win. It's you have to look about to see the year, what do you do? So I know I only win one tournament, but you have to see another tournament. I play a lot of semis, a lot of quarters. I was feeling this is much better than last year, so at least I improve a lot."
Now at age 31, Li is also enjoying competing on the court more so than in her younger days.
"Yeah, I think now is more enjoy. You know, getting old, you get more experience on the court (smiling). I know they always ask me about this second old women on the tour, and I would like to say age is nothing. Age gave me a lot experience on the court. I still happy the way I am playing now on the court."
On Wednesday, Li opened her Istanbul campaign with a straight sets win over Sara Errani 6-3, 7-6(5) in white group round robin play.