They may be 32-years-old but Serena Williams and Li Na are ruling both the court and the world rankings with the fire of a pair of teenagers.
As the world’s top-two players, Williams and Li continue to deliver some of the most exciting matches on the WTA tour and the Miami final on Saturday was no exception.
The top-seeded Williams battled from a double-break down in the opening set to overcome the Chinese and clinch a record-breaking seventh Miami crown.
As they received their trophies at Crandon Park, the finalists were giggling about the success they can still enjoy so advanced in their career.
“I said I was happy for her, and us, and how we’re doing,” Williams said of their conversation during the trophy ceremony. “We’re playing great tennis and we’re No1 and No2, and we’re both the same age. We’re living the same life, and at this stage, to be on top, I don’t think it’s been done before, and I think it’s really awesome.
“I feel a connection with her that I just love. I just really like her as a person and as a player, and I have so much respect for her.
“I feel like we both have this never-give-up fight. It shows that you can still shine at any age.”
Li, who captured her second grand slam title at the Australian Open last January, is enjoying the best season start of her career (has a 22-3 win-loss record in 2014) and says she doesn’t feel that age is catching up to her.
“I’m a young 32. And I feel like tennis has changed a little bit now because it’s not only about your technique, it’s more mental and physical too, and I’m taking care of myself well and know what I have to do before I come to the court,” said the world No2.
The tennis season will now make a rapid shift to clay and Li is hoping she can improve on her results on the surface compared to last year.
She has had tremendous success on clay in the past, picking up the French Open title in 2011.
“I’ll try to do better than last year, because last year I was pretty confident coming to the clay court season, and I only did well in the first tournament and lost early at the others. So we’ll see,” says Li.
Williams will have no time to rest as she headlines the field in Charleston this week, where she is a two-time defending champion.
She will be joined on the green clay of South Carolina by Jelena Jankovic, Sloane Stephens, Eugenie Bouchard, and Venus Williams.