Former grand slam winner Li Na opens up about life post-tennis
She was the Australian Open grand slam titleholder in 2014 and the oldest female to ever win a women’s title at age 31, ranking only second in the world to tennis legend Serena Williams that year.
Now, two years on, Chinese pro-tennis player Li Na is watching the game courtside, after a chronic knee injury forced her to end her successful career shortly after her victory win. This year, she’s a Blackmores influencer for the Australian Open (it’s their first year as sponsors for the Open) and we took a moment to talk to the former grand slam champion about her tough career decision and how she stays healthy and happy now as a mum, post-tennis.
How did you feel when your injury forced you to retire?
It was tough because I missed the fight and the competition of tennis, which you don’t really get to experience in every day life. But I had a supportive team around me and I love my life now, it allows me to invest so much time into my baby.
Were you given any advice that helped you at the time?
To stay true to yourself. I think that’s important in all aspects of life, both for motherhood and personal wellbeing.
What does your exercise regime look like now compared to when you were competitively playing?
Well I used to train every day – my life was completely centred around tennis! Nowadays, my day is entirely structured around my baby so I walk a lot and try to stay as active as I can but often my baby Alisa keeps me active enough!
What would you do to celebrate after winning a game? Did you have a particular routine?
Grand slam tournaments were very tough – you can play up to seven matches in two weeks if you make it to the final so it’s a hugely mental game. You need to spend a lot of time on mental preparation and ensure you’re keeping your mental health in check to handle the stress that comes with the game so keeping healthy and strong and taking time to recover with adequate sleep and rest time was the most important thing for me.
What’s your morning routine look like now? How do you keep healthy and happy?
Sleep is a big one – I try to get as much as possible (especially as having a baby means I now get much less than I used to). I also try not to stress too much about the small things. And of course, smile and just have fun!
What’s your overall health philosophy?
Don’t stress the little things! Get plenty of sleep and take time for yourself. I believe you really have to take the time to recover and stay healthy – I learned this the tough way from playing grand slams, it can be very gruelling. If you don’t take the time for your health, you burn out easily.
What’s your go-to active wear staple?
On or off court I love wearing trainers! Comfort is a big priority for me – even before I had Alisa. On the odd occasion I have to wear heels for a media conference or something special, I can’t wait to take them off the moment it’s over and get my feet back in to trainers.
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