Li says death of father has shaped her work ethic

10:17, January 25, 2011      

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Chinese tennis star Li Na said the early passing of her father taught her a significant lesson about the value of hard work that has held her in good stead in her playing career.

She also said some young professionals aren't reaching their potential because they are being spoilt by over-indulgent mentors.

The world No. 11 advanced to the quarter-finals with a straight sets win over 21-year-old Belarusian Victoria Azarenka on Sunday.

A semi-finalist last year, when Li and countrywoman Zheng Jie created history by becoming the first Chinese players to reach that stage of a Grand Slam, she is playing some of the best tennis of her career at the age of 29.

But Li questioned whether some of her younger rivals shared her hunger for success, which she puts down to some painful early experiences.

"My father died when I was 14," she said. "Some young players nowadays do not appreciate that they are given whatever they want."

"They don't even need to work hard and they still get whatever they want."

"When my father died, mum had to take care of everything, so I couldn't tell her what I wanted because it was hard for her."

"So I think I have always believed in hard work."

Li also credited her husband, Jiang Shan, with helping her become a more focused player by being a calming influence.

Source: Global Times/Agencies
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