China rewards Li for win

2011-07-05 10:55
Li Na (AP)

Beijing - China's Li Na, who made tennis history at this year's French Open by becoming the first Chinese Grand Slam singles title winner, has been honoured by her government -- and awarded a $92 000 cheque.

The government in Li's native Hubei province on Monday saluted the 29-year-old as a pioneer and handed her 600 000 yuan for her victory at Roland Garros last month, where she defeated Francesca Schiavone for the title.

"I truly feel that my success belongs not to myself but to the country," Li, who pocketed a cool $1.65 million in prize money for taking the title, said in comments reported on Tuesday by the official Xinhua news agency.

"Without the support from the government, the people and all my coaches, I would not have done this."

Li reached a career-high world number four ranking on her French Open success, but has since dropped back to sixth spot in the WTA rankings after being outgunned by Germany's Sabine Lisicki in the second round at Wimbledon.

The $3.16 million in prize money Li has raked in on tour this year - most of it from her French Open win and her run to the Australian Open final - amounts to just less than half her $6.5 million in career earnings.

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