Nominee 2012 - Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year
In 2011, Li Na became China’s first winner of a Grand Slam tennis event when she defeated Francesca Schiavone to win the French Open. En route to the final amongst others she beat Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. Earlier in the year she had reached the final of the Australian Open – another first for a Chinese player - beating world No 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-final, but losing in three sets in the final to Kim Clijsters. She also won the Medibank International. Her father Li Shengpeng was a professional badminton player. She started playing badminton but switched to tennis when she was eight. A great sporting hero in China, now 29, her career has been plagued by injuries that have prevented her from playing for lengthy periods. She suffered a two-year break from competition in her early 20s, so her achievements now are considerable.