- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

WUHAN, ChinaLi Na, a two-time Grand Slam champion from China who took tennis in Asia to a new level, has retired due to recurring knee injuries.

The 32-year-old Li posted the news on her microblog Friday, ending a week of intensifying speculation that she would announce her retirement ahead of the new WTA event at Wuhan, her home town.

Li won the 2011 French Open, becoming the first player from China to win a Grand Slam singles title, and clinched the Australian Open title in January in her third trip to the final at Melbourne Park.

She only entered seven tournaments after that, and hasn’t played since a third-round defeat at Wimbledon. She withdrew from three tournaments in August, including the U.S. Open, citing a right knee injury.

“Most people in the tennis world know that my career has been marked by my troubled right knee,” Li said in a statement posted on social media. “After four knee surgeries and hundreds of shots injected into my knee weekly to alleviate swelling and pain, my body is begging me to stop the pounding.

“My previous three surgeries were on my right knee. My most recent knee surgery took place this July and was on my left knee. After a few weeks of post-surgery recovery, I tried to go through all the necessary steps to get back on the court. “

Li set a host of milestones for tennis in China, including being the first Chinese player to win a WTA title and the first to win a major.

“I’ve succeeded on the global stage in a sport that a few years ago was in its infancy in China,” she said. “What I’ve accomplished for myself is beyond my wildest dreams. What I accomplished for my country is one of my most proud achievements. “


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