Tennis star Li Na sends farewell to fans
Updated: 2014-09-19 12:51
Thank you to:
My mother - for your never-ending support. Through the laughs and the tears, you've always been there for me.
My father - you were taken away from me way too early and I haven't been the same since. You've remained the sunshine in my life and I am who I am because of you.
Jiang Shan - you've been by my side for 20 years. You are my everything and I am grateful to have shared my life with you.
My first coaches Ms. Xia Xiyao and Ms. Yu Liqiao - for putting me on the tennis path.
Madame Sun and the Chinese Tennis Association - thank you for being trailblazers for tennis in China.
Mr. Hu Dechun and the Hubei Sports Bureau - for understanding me and supporting me through the years.
Women's Tennis Association - for your passion for women's tennis and hard work growing it around the world.
Mr. Chan Hongchang - for supporting me when I first decided to become a professional tennis player in 2008. You helped me make up my mind.
Thomas Hogstedt - for introducing me to professional tennis.
Michael Mortenson - for helping me win my first Grand Slam.
Carlos Rodriguez - for pushing me beyond the limits I thought I could reach.
Alex Stober - for taking care of me all of these years and pulling me together when I was falling apart.
Erich Rembeck and Johannes Wieber - for finding a way to make me pain free, over and over again.
Fred Zhang and the Nike team - you've been my guiding light, my support system and my biggest cheerleader. I will never forget it.
To Max Eisenbud and the entire IMG Team - for being the best management company in the world and for taking care of me every day.
To all the sponsors that have supported me through every stage of my career.
To my relatives, friends, and everyone who has helped me throughout my career - for always being there for me and for your never-ending support.
To my fellow tennis players - for being a part of my journey all of these years. I have so much respect for all of you.
To everyone in the media who's covered my career and helped the growth of tennis in China and around the world.
To the amazing tennis fans around the world - for your unyielding support of our sport and for playing every tennis match along with me.
And lastly, to tennis fans in China - for getting on the bandwagon and staying on it! I am grateful to each and every one of you for pushing me to be my best, embracing me and loving me unconditionally. There is no limit to how far we can take the sport of tennis in China, together.
When I started playing tennis, I was just a neighbourhood kid with an afterschool hobby, not realizing what magical journey lay ahead of me. If I only knew what a vehicle the sport of tennis, along with my success, would become for my beloved China. While my journey hasn't been easy, it has been rewarding. I've seen change happening in front of my eyes, young girls picking up tennis racquets, setting goals, following their hearts and believing in themselves. I hope that I've had the opportunity to inspire young women all over China to believe in themselves, to set their goals high and pursue them with vengeance and self-belief.
Whether you want to be a tennis player, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or a business leader, I urge you to believe in yourself and follow your dream. If I could do it, you can too! Be the bird that sticks out. With hard work, your dreams will come true.