LEAVING WITH LI
Aug 21, 2012, 2:00:24 AM | by
Tennis needs more players like Li Na. She has an infectious personality and a great laugh and is just so accommodating. She had won the W&S Open in Cincinnati, her first title since the 2011 French Open and...
Tennis needs more players like Li Na. She has an infectious personality and a great laugh and is just so accommodating. She had won the W&S Open in Cincinnati, her first title since the 2011 French Open and she said she had almost forgotten what the feeling was like to win so needless to say she was pretty happy with the victory over Angelique Kerber. It was the next morning and I was waiting for the tournament shuttle to take me to Cincinnati Airport and it was running a bit late. When it did arrive it was a pretty full shuttle; there was Li Na, her husband who has decided his English name is Dennis because it rhymes with tennis, her new coach Carlos Rodriguez (former coach to Justine Henin) and her massage therapist Alex Stober who I have been friends with for 22 years. The ride went by so quickly because the conversation was full of laughs. When she saw my luggage there was great amusement from Na with the fact there was so much of it. Well I’m on a three month continuous trip. We got through security and walking through the terminal, killing time before our respective flights to the New York area, there were so many people who stopped her and asked for pictures with her. Na was only too happy to oblige and then was delighted when two Chinese ladies came over to talk to her in Mandarin. One little Chinese girl couldn’t believe it was Li Na – she came running over and when Na turned with a smile the girl was overwhelmed and stuck for words and could only cover her mouth with excitement before running away shy. Continuing to walk through the terminal an airline staffer even wanted to know if she was carrying the trophy in her carry-on luggage. The five of us sat down to get something to eat and of all places it was at Panda Express, an Asian fast food chain. Dennis was constantly getting up to see if people had left the gate lounge for their flight, he kept coming back suggesting it was okay. He didn’t check for a while and then remembered. “There no one at the gate now,” he said half amused, half concerned. The group grabbed things and headed straight there and were the last to board. Waving them good bye and saying we’d catch up in New York I headed to my gate and my flight. Nice way to get the week started with really nice people.