Wuhan to host "Li Na & Friends" tennis event   2011-07-09 11:38:58 FeedbackPrintRSS

WUHAN, China, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Just one month after becoming the first Asian-born player to win a singles Grand Slam title, Li Na has already confirmed plans to recognize her hometown fans for their support.

On Saturday the city of Wuhan leadership and IMG announced that on December 17-18, 2011, Li will headline a special two-day tennis extravaganza in Wuhan, "Li Na & Friends", alongside new rival and rising star, Sabine Lisicki, who defeated Li in a thrilling contest at Wimbledon, as well as 14-time Grand Slam singles champion Pete Sampras and tennis heartthrob Carlos Moya, who like the hometown hero also owns a Roland Garros singles crown.

Li took the opportunity to express her gratitude. "It has been an amazing few weeks for me and my family and I would like to thank you all for your good wishes and support which have touched my heart and which I will never forget.

"I am so delighted that this Li Na & Friends event can take place in my home city of Wuhan, and am so thankful that Pete, Sabine and Carlos happily agreed to come to China. I would particularly like to warmly thank the City of Wuhan, the Mayor, Vice Mayor, Wuhan Sports Bureau and my team at IMG for joining forces to make this wonderful celebration possible."

The two-day event will feature two matches per day. The first day of play on December 17 will feature a singles match between Sampras and Moya, and a mixed doubles match, pairing Li and Sampras against Moya and Lisicki.

The men will play two sets, with a ten point tie-breaker to decide the match if they split sets. After a short break, there will then be a one-set mixed doubles match.

On December 18, Li will seek to avenge her three-set Wimbledon loss to Lisicki (6-3, 4-6, 6-8), this time in two sets, also with a ten point tie-breaker to determine the match if they split sets.

All four players will take to the court to conclude the tennis extravaganza by participating in a reverse mixed doubles set, with Li and Moya joining forces to test their mettle against the big-serving duo of Sampras and Lisicki. Fans can expect a charged atmosphere with a DJ, event emcee, and opportunities to win autographed balls.

Speaking by video, Sampras said, "First of all, I would like to congratulate Li Na for her historical win at the French Open. The people of China and your fellow citizens of Wuhan should be very proud of what you have achieved. Winning your first major is a memory that will last you for a lifetime -- enjoy every minute of it."

He continued on to add, "I made my first ever visit to China last year and it was great. I am very excited to have been invited back for the "Li Na & Friends" event. I am sure the crowds and atmosphere will be fantastic and I look forward to playing some good tennis with you, Li Na, in China, one of the hottest tennis markets on the planet."

After fighting off two match points to defeat Li at Wimbledon, Germany's Lisicki is eagerly anticipating the exhibition.

"I am delighted to have been included in the "Li Na & Friends" event. Li Na and I had one of the best quality matches of Wimbledon 2011 and it is always a pleasure to play a champion -- especially a reigning Grand Slam Champion like Li Na who is so friendly and professional, something all of China should be very proud of," she said.

Editor: Zhang Xiang
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