(Li Na walking around Chinatown. Photo Credit: Joshua Bright for the New York Times)
I just read an excellent profile of 27 year old Chinese tennis player Li Na in the New York Times. Li Na is China's best female tennis player and she competed week before last in the US Open here in New York City and made it all the way to the final 8 but ended up losing to Kim Clijsters. On the day of the interview Li Na was taking the day off of practice because of an injury and the journalist got to interview her while walking around and eating in Chinatown. They began the day at Columbus park down by City Hall and Li Na said, "It's exactly like China." I've often thought the same thing. Retired Chinese-American residents sit in the park during the day playing Chinese chess, playing Chinese musical instruments like the Erhu, or practicing Tai Chi in the morning and it's easy to forget what continent you are on. She says she feels right at home in New York City. “I love New York City,” she said. “People in China say: ‘If you love your children, send them to New York. If you hate your children, also send them to New York.’ ” Ha!
Li Na is from Wuhan, China in Hubei province and when she was little she had never even hear of tennis. A tennis coach saw her play badminton, asked to coach her, and she's been kicking butt ever since. During the Olympics she even beat-out Venus Williams. I've read some interviews with her since her loss at the Open and she seems to haves such a great attitude. I have high hopes for her.
I didn't make it to the US Open this year but I went out to Arthur Ashe Stadium the day before it began for the free open practice day with my friend Laurel. We didn't get to see Li Na play but we saw Djokovic, Sharapova, and funny enough, John McEnroe. He was playing for charity or something but still managed to scream the f-word a bunch. I think I would have been disappointed if he hadn't.
Check out out the article in the Times HERE by John Branch. I totally agree with her thoughts on milk tea. The stuff is so addicting, milk bubble tea has replaced my Pinkberry cravings this summer.