Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is Li Na The Next Yao Ming?

It's hard to believe that a country with almost 20% of the population has never produced a tennis grand slam finalist. Tennis is not a sport where size and stature are a prerequisite for dominance. Discipline, mental toughness, and repetition are much more important than strength and unique physical attributes. China is known for turning out tremendous figure skaters, gymnasts, and ping pong players, but now that's all changed.

Li Na has burst on the tennis scene with a big personality and a big game to go with it on her road to the Australian Open finals. Her detractors will point to the fact that she advanced to the finals in a year where both Williams sisters were sidelined with injuries, but Li can only play who's in front of her. I'm sure she benefited from not having to play Venus or Serena, but that shouldn't diminish the significance of her accomplishment.

America has embraced Li Na in the same way it embraced Yao Ming when he entered the NBA. Li is an advertisers dream with the potential to capture a HUGE market and capitalize on endorsements. The more she continues to win the more popular she will become. Michelle Wie had the opportunity once upon a time and couldn't cash in on it. Let hope history doesn't repeat itself with Li. Good Luck.

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