WTA Chief says Rise of Li Na Paved the Way for Growth of Women’s Tennis in Asia

September 24, 2013

Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chief executive Stacey Allaster has pointed to the rise of Li Na as a key reason for the growth of women’s tennis in Asia.

Li won the French Open in 2011, making her the first Asian to win a grand slam singles title and interest in the sport has grown significantly since then.

Allaster told Reuters that Li was “the athlete that will make the greatest impact on the growth of women’s tennis in this decade,” after Zhang Shuai became the fifth Chinese woman to win a WTA title at the Guangzhou Open on Saturday.

“You can have a strategy with multi-thronged pillars but you need the stars and Li is obviously our star here in Asia,” added Allaster.

“She is obviously taking all those pillars of the business strategy and dialing them up because women’s tennis is getting noticed and she is inspiring the ones that are right behind her. ‘If Li can do it, I can do it’ confidence breeds success.”

China will host eight WTA events next year, up from two in 2008.