Sport360°’s Doha Diary: Li Na starring on and off the court

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Thinking game: Li Na with chess champion Zhu Chen.

Anyone who has been watching Li Na’s interviews recently can attest to the fact that she is hilarious, honest and an all-round delightful person.

After her win over Magdalena Rybarikova yesterday, she was asked about her autobiography, which was recently released in English for the first time, and what parts of her life she felt she needed to reveal in the book.

Among other things, she said that it was a chance to get her mother to understand the amount of effort she put into tennis and the high level she managed to achieve.

Apparently Li Na’s mother has never attended a single match of her daughter’s, even when she played the Olympics in Beijing.

“She’s not interested in any sport,” said Li Na of her mother. “I think when I won the French Open (in 2011) and she called me, she was like ‘Oh, Li Na, you just won one tournament. Why are the newspapers writing about you?’

“I was like ‘thanks, mom, you’re doing a good job’.”

Her mother had a similar reaction when she won the Australian Open last month. 

After her press conference, the 31-year-old met with Chinese-turned- Qatari chess Grandmaster Zhu Chen, who was there to watch her play.

Apparently Chen received the Qatari nationality in 2006 and has been representing the Gulf state in international competitions since then.

Holiday fun in Doha

The buzz from the Qatar National Sport Day is yet to die as the entire country took a day off to celebrate the holiday.

Thousands showed up to the Corniche in Doha to take part in various sports while WTA professionals Simona Halep, Annika Beck and Angelique Kerber gave some tennis clinics to children here at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

Li Na endorsed the initiative of having a public holiday dedicated to sport and judging from the massive participation, you couldn’t help but hope something similar can take place in the UAE .

The question is – would people in the Emirates embrace the idea in the same way it is in Qatar?

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