Li Na: We Are Not Old, We Are Just More Experienced
by Tom Gainey | February 12th, 2014, 9:27 am

Li Na arrived in the Middle East this past weekend as the No. 1 seed at the Qatar Total Open in Doha. She also enters as the Australian Open champion and with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova absent, she’s now the star of the tournament.

And at 31, Na continues the trend of older women women Grand Slams.

The last four Slams have been won by the 28+ crowd. A 31-year-old Sernea Williams won both the French and the US Open while Marion Bartoli, 28, surprised everyone at Wimbledon. Only Azarenka has been able to breakthrough in recent years.

Na explains.

“I don’t think we are old,” she said on Monday. “We just a little bit, how do you say, more experienced on the tour. I think now the tennis is not only about technique. Mostly important for us is more, how do you say, mentally you have to be strong on the court. Maybe some young player have very good technique, but they are not strong enough or they didn’t have enough experience on the court.”

Ranked No. 3, Li Na will move to No. 2 in the world next week after Azarenka’s point drop off.

“I mean, everyone would like to have higher ranking, right?” she said. “I was really happy. We say next week is next week. I still have to prepare for what I’m doing in Doha, so at least I have to play well in here.”

She is currently playing Magdalena Rybarikova in her first match.

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2 Comments for Li Na: We Are Not Old, We Are Just More Experienced

Ben Pronin Says:

The idea of older players being successful was never a mental thing. Not to the extent Li Na is making it, anyway. It’s physical. We first say that Federer is half a step slow, and later ponder that he has champion’s fatigue. The difference is that players take fitness seriously and know how to preserve their body for longer periods of time.

Jack Lewis Says:

The extent that Li Na is talking is about the women’s tour. Any kind of mental toughness will surely help. You have players freaking out, crying and all sorts of stuff. In the WTA some mental strength in addition to the tennis skill set will help you go far.

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