My ultimate goal is to become a housewife: Li

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Chinese tennis star Li Na
Beijing, Jul 6: Undaunted by her French Open success, Chinese tennis star Li Na says she would like to achieve her "ultimate goal to become a housewife".

"I have not changed, it is just the public opinion about me that has changed and there are higher expectations. My ultimate goal is to become a housewife and even that has not changed," said Li, who has been hailed as "break-through pioneer", during a felicitation ceremony last night.

Li's victory over defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy at Roland Garros recently helped her bury all the tensions that dogged her career at home after she turned pro three years ago.

Even the powerful ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) owned up her success, asserting that it was also a victory for its ideological pursuit.

"Li winning the French Open was a showcase of her competitive strength as well as a demonstration of the superiority of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party of China," said Secretary of Hubei, Li's native province, Li Hongzhong.

The secretary hailed Li as a "breakthrough pioneer" and handed her USD 92,820.

The 29-year-old, who became the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam, was at loggerheads with the country's tightly controlled political establishment after distancing herself from sports administration. 

The player, meanwhile, thanked China's tennis chief Sun Jinfang for letting her get out of the traditional state-support system and manage herself.

"Thanks for letting it happen. The state support system laid good foundation for me," Li said recalling how she retired from the sport at the age of 21 and made a comeback after being persuaded among others by Sun.

Li was, however, diffident in advising children to take to tennis. "I think parents should let their children fall in love with tennis first. That is very important," she insisted.

Li's victory over Schiavone in French open was watched by 116 million people in China, however, the tennis star could not replicate her performance at the Wimbledon as she lost to German wildcard entrant Sabine Lisicki in the second round.

The tennis federation, meanwhile, made her the deputy director of Hubei province's tennis administration centre, which she said would take up after retirement.

PTI

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