BEIJING (AFP) - China's Li Na announced her retirement at the age of 32 on Friday, saying knee injuries had forced her out of tennis just seven months after she won the Australian Open.
The two-time Grand Slam champion, Asia's most successful player and a trailblazer for the sport, said the injuries had long stopped her from playing to her potential.
"As a professional tennis player, it is the best decision for me to leave the field," Li wrote on her weibo microblog, adding that injuries have "for a long time prevented me playing as I had before".
"I've achieved far more than I'd dreamed for, and it's my biggest pride to have won glory for the country," she wrote.
The world number six added that she was "personally looking forward to opening a new chapter of my life", including launching her own tennis academy. The feisty, popular Li enjoyed one of the highlights of her career in January, when she won her second major title at the Australian Open and reached a career-high ranking of second. But knee problems have kept her out of action since Wimbledon, and she was also dealt a blow when her influential coach Carlos Rodriguez ended their partnership in July.
Three years ago, Li became the first Asian national to win a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open, a result credited with igniting a tennis boom in Asia.