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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 4 March 2021

31-year-old Li Na becomes oldest ever Australian Open winner

The Chinese tennis star aimed several wisecracks at her husband after she defeated Dominika Cibulkova.

Li Na poses with the Australian Open trophy after her straight sets win.
Li Na poses with the Australian Open trophy after her straight sets win.
Image: AP Photo/Aaron Favila

CHINESE TENNIS STAR Li Na had fans roaring with laughter during her Australian Open victory speech as she thanked her agent for making her rich and gave damningly faint praise to her long-suffering husband.

Na, who secured her second Grand Slam title in her third Australian Open final, fired out the jokes after overcoming a tense first set to beat Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7/3), 6-0. In doing so, she became the oldest winner of the women’s title, surpassing Margaret Court who was 30 when she became champion in 1973.

“To Max my agent, you made me very rich. Thanks a lot,” was her first line, directed at agent Max Eisenbud in her players’ box. She also thanked her coach Carlos Rodriguez and her physio before finally turning to her husband Jiang Shan, her former coach and often the butt of her jokes.

“And of course, my husband. He’s even famous in China,” she said. “So thanks for him giving up everything, travelling with me to be my hitting partner, fix the drinks and fix my racquets.

“He does a good job so thanks a lot. You are a nice guy,” she deadpanned. “Also, you are so lucky for me.”

Li also admitted “you guys think I talk too much”, before walking off with the trophy. The 31-year-old has frequently poked fun at her husband in public, hitting out at everything from his snoring to his cooking skills.

© AFP, 2014

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