Tokyo - Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis said on Friday Li Na's retirement was
a loss to world tennis, crediting the Chinese star with raising the
game's profile in her home country and across Asia.
"It's a sad
day for Chinese tennis and for the global sport in general," Hingis, who
has won five singles and nine doubles Grand Slam titles, said in Tokyo
after hearing about Li's decision during the WTA Pan Pacific Open.
"I have good memories playing her," said the 33-year-old Hingis, who beat Li in the 2007 Australian Open fourth round.
world number one Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who was also playing in
Tokyo, called the wise-cracking 32-year-old Chinese a "big inspiration
both on and off the court" who will be "missed in the locker room."
added the retirement news was "sad" because the next WTA tournament was
to be played in Li's hometown of Wuhan next week, immediately followed
by the big-money China Open in Beijing.
"There is so much more
tennis which has moved tournaments to China, (there has been)
development on the women's side of the tour to have the tournaments
there," she added.
The Women's Tennis Association upgraded the
China Open in Beijing last year to become Asia's only event combined
with a men's tour. The event is also one of the WTA's top four
Wozniacki, 24, who lost to Li in the 2011 Australian
Open semi-finals, said: "She's an unbelievable person. She's so great as
"She's so funny. She's so hilarious to be around. So I'm gonna miss her in the locker room. We always have a good laugh."
she has done for tennis, not only in Asia but in the whole world,
showing great sportsmanship, definitely it's something that is going to
be very missed."
But the straight-talking Dane also wished Li all the best in her "great new chapter in her life."
sure she's very excited for what's to come," Wozniacki said, quoting a
comment Li made after winning this year's Australian Open.
"As she said in Australia, her husband is a very lucky man."