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Li Na Did It Her Way

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After Li Na became the first Chinese citizen to win a Grand Slam in the 2011 French Open, the Chinese government expected her to thank the country for putting her in a position to win. She did not. Na was accused by authorities of shunning China, and instead, she used the win to break free from China’s rigid system for training athletes.

This is the primary focus of Lesley Stahl’s feature on Na for last Sunday’s 60 Minutes, one that feels all too short. Stahl also touches on Na’s at times rocky marriage, and how husband and coach, Jiang Shan, dealt with her emotional style of play and public wisecracking often at his expense.

More interesting perhaps is that despite Na actively opposing the Chinese government’s approach to athletics throughout her career, she has since made amends. Now retired, Na has returned to China and plans to start a tennis academy of her own.

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