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Li Na on Time Magazine cover, named one of 100 most influential people

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Li Na

Li Na, who made the Australian Open final, is ranked No. 5 in the world.

Li Na graces the cover of this week’s TIME Magazine, which named her to its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along with LeBron James, Lindsey Vonn and Mario Ballotelli, Li is one of only four athletes named to the list. Tennis has always had a strong presence on the list, with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic among recent honorees.

“It’s a great honor for me to be in the position of being able to help grow, promote and further build the sport of women’s tennis around the world, especially in my native China,” Li said. “I couldn’t be more honored to be on the list that includes some of the most talented people in the world, and to make an impact on women and women athletes.

“I am grateful to TIME for giving women’s tennis the recognition it deserves.”

In the issue, Chris Evert penned a salute to Li’s charisma and independence and explained how her presence and success has transformed tennis internationally.

Tennis has exploded in China. The country now has some 15 million tennis players; 116 million people watched Li win the French Open. That kind of exposure is crucial to our sport, and it never would have happened without Li. At tournaments, I’ve seen her charm the crowds. When she smiles, everyone melts. She’s such a breath of fresh air. And like Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova before her, Li Na has transcended her sport.

This year, TIME opted to commission seven cover portraits to reflect the breadth and depth of the list. TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel explained the magazine’s reasoning behind its seven covers, the availability of which will vary internationally.

“They are Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl whose advocacy for girls’ rights, writes Chelsea Clinton, is just beginning; Jay Z, whose journey from hip-hop artist to powerful entrepreneur symbolizes, according to Michael Bloomberg, the American Dream narrative; actress Jennifer Lawrence, who charmed the world when she won her first Oscar but, writes Jodie Foster, impressed everyone in the movie industry long ago with her raw talent; Rand Paul, the first-term Kentucky Senator whom Sarah Palin describes as the GOP’s ascendant voice of reason; the inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk, who, Richard Branson argues, is a global visionary for a cleaner, greener future; Li Na, the Chinese tennis phenomenon, whom Chris Evert credits with revolutionizing the sport in her homeland; and Aamir Khan, the Bollywood star who wins praise from composer A.R. Rahman for using his influence to raise social awareness in India.”

The issue hits newsstands Friday.

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  • Published On Apr 18, 2013
  • 3 comments
    bridgepea1
    bridgepea1

    Li Na made the TIME magazine cover because she is an agent of change.  She is from a country that is reported to not be very friendly and open especially to women.  She fought the Chinese Federation to be able to go out on her own and keep her earnings rather than giving half of it to the State.  At a time when most people in China are afraid of airing their thoughts, Li Na says what she thinks about the issues affecting China and women's tennis.  

     

    In addition to all that she is a global ambassador for women's tennis.  China and indeed the Asian market are being touted by not only tennis but many sports franchises.  To have her face and name added to a prestigious list like TIME's most influential people does a lot for the promotion of women's tennis and indeed for women's rights all over the world, but more importantly in China. 

     

    Sometimes it is not about how many titles you have won or how well you have performed, but it is also the recognition and the work that you do off the court that brands you.  For all the global sponsorship and the fact that Sharapova is a brand, she is not as worthy of the honour that has been bestowed on Li and Serena and Venus. 

     

    Venus for her part has done so much work behind the scenes in pushing the agenda of women's rights about equality and most of this she has done behind the scenes.   

    jeanwsmith54
    jeanwsmith54

    OOps!  My blunder.  Let's do this again.  How did Na Li make Times Magazine's cover?  She's won one Grand Slam  like what, two years ago?  What has she done since then  that keeps her at the top of the game when it doesn't take but a blink of the eye and Venus and Serena fall drastically?   I always feel that the ranking are manipulaated to put at the top who the powers that be want at the top at a given time.  Dinara Safina stay number one it seems foerever and she was no longer around.

    jeanwsmith54
    jeanwsmith54

    How did Li make SI?  For all practical purposes, she terribly overated.