WUHAN, China (AFP) – China’s two-time Grand Slam-winner Li Na is poised to retire, state media reported Thursday, in a move which would bring down the curtains on Asia’s most successful tennis career.
CCTV-5, sports channel of state broadcaster China Central Television, quoted unnamed insiders as saying Li, 32, will announce her retirement because of injuries on Friday.
“According to insiders, Li Na will officially announce her retirement on September 19,” CCTV-5 said on its verified microblog.
“She is reportedly retiring because she is unable to continue competing due to her physical condition,” it said.
The broadcaster did not give any details about its sources. An employee at the Beijing office of Li’s agency, IMG, told AFP that Li’s manager was in a meeting and unable to confirm.
CCTV-5’s report comes after web portal SINA Sports, also quoting unnamed sources, said IMG would hold a briefing on Friday to announce Li’s retirement.
The world number six won the Australian Open in January but her season has been troubled by injury and she has been sidelined since late July with a knee problem.
She initially planned to return at the inaugural WTA Wuhan Open, in her home city, next week. Earlier in July, Li also split with her influential coach, Carlos Rodriguez.
Li became one of the region’s biggest stars when she won the 2011 French Open, becoming the first Asian national to win a Grand Slam singles title.
She has become a poster girl for the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which has made a concerted push into Asia with several new tournaments including Wuhan.