Li Na, French Open champion. Wimbledon next?
"What I said before, French is over." Li Na, who became the first Chinese woman ever to win a major tournament when she beat defending champion Francesca Schiavone to win the French Open last month, is not dwelling on her biggest triumph. As she said a few times Saturday, the French Open is over. It has nothing to do with Wimbledon, which begins Monday.
Li, 29, who started this year by reaching the finals of the Australian Open, has never been past the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. The player, seeded third, will not have an easy first-round match. She drew 70th-ranked Alla Kudryavtseva, a hard-hitting Russian.
There was not much celebrating for Li after her historic win in Paris, she said. "I just have dinner with the China consulate in Paris. The next day, I fly to Munich. Nothing special. Just sleep, eat, totally rest."
That next day, though, she also had to do a reality check. "I wake up, and I was asking my husband, 'It's real or fake?' I still didn't believe it."
With the short time between the French Open (played on clay) and the grass-court season that finishes with Wimbledon, Li hasn't returned to China since she won. She said she'd only exchanged a single text message with her mother, and that was shortly after her championship match against Schiavone ended at Roland Garros.
"After the match, she just send me a text message," Li said. "She ask when I was back. I say, 'After Wimbledon.' And then she never send me text back again, so ... " Li laughed in the way that suggested, "Mothers, what can you do about them?"
-- Diane Pucin, reporting from Wimbledon
Photo: Li Na returns the ball during her match against Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia at the AEGON tournament in Eastbourne, England, on June 15, 2011. The AEGON International is the final tournament before the beginning of Wimbledon. Credit: Ben Stansall / AFP / Getty Images