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Li-led Chinese tennis contingent faces uphill task at London Olympics (2)

By Wang Jimin (Xinhua)

09:27, July 09, 2012

"I am looking forward to playing at the Olympics. This could be my last time to play for my country at the Olympics as I'm already 30 years old and you never know what will happen after four years," Li said during this year's Wimbledon.
The grasscourt Grand Slam event, which ended at the All England Club on Sunday, will be followed by the Games just three weeks later as Olympic tennis returns for the first time since 1908.
In 1908 when London held its first Olympics, Wimbledon was the venue of the tennis tournament. When London played host to the 1948 Games, tennis had been ruled out of the quadrennial extravaganza.
Li said she can't wait to get back to the All England Club for the Games.
The usual clothing restrictions will be relaxed at the traditionalist All England Club for the Olympic tennis tournament, with players wearing the national colors instead of the regulation white.
"I'm also looking forward to seeing Wimbledon without people wearing white," she said.
"In the Olympics you can wear the country's color to play in Wimbledon so I'm looking forward to seeing that. In more than 100 years nothing has changed here so maybe it's the only time in a lifetime you can see this with colors."
At Wimbledon, Li had some sweet memories. She had twice been a quarterfinalist at the All England Club -- losing to Kim Clijsters in 2006 and to Serena Williams at the same last-eight stage in 2010.
Despite Li's headline-grabbing Grand Slam performances, China's best singles run at Wimbledon was Zheng's semifinal surge in 2008 which was ended by Serena Williams of the United States.
The Sichuan right-hander came so close to exacting a revenge at this year's Wimbledon where she gave Williams, the eventual winner, a real scare in the fourth round.
If Zheng maintains her form, Sun claimed, she will be a dangerous prospect in the Olympic draw.
Zheng and her former partner Yan Zi were also crowned as doubles champions here in 2006, and in this year's London Games, she will pair up with Peng, a new team that is little known to their opponents.

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