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Li confident entering her favorite Slam

Updated: 2013-01-14 09:02
By Sun Xiaochen in Melbourne ( China Daily)

Li Na returns to her favorite Grand Slam in high spirits, but not completely happy.

Li confident entering her favorite Slam

Li, the world No 6 player, gets her 2013 Australian Open campaign under way full of confidence after claiming her seventh WTA title in Shenzhen and reaching the semis in Sydney during a solid 8-1 run over the past two weeks.

Her previous record in Melbourne (semis in 2010 and final in 2011) and the warm reception she receives from the huge local Chinese community here mean she can't wait to get into the action at Melbourne Park.

"I am always looking forward to (returning) Australia and I have to say this is my favorite Grand Slam," Li said at a media conference on Sunday.

Still, the Wuhan native regrets she will not get the chance to gain revenge against the retired Kim Clijsters, who saved four match points and then went on to upset her in the fourth round last year.

"Why should I be happy? I was really looking forward to playing her again," Li responded to the query of, "Are you happy not having to play against Clijsters this time?"

Squandering a 6-2 lead in the second set tiebreak, Li lost to Clijsters in three sets and openly wept at the post-match media conference.

"I will never have the chance to atone for that loss, so I am not happy."

Apart from that, Li is excited to rejoin her close friends in the players' lounge.

Li confident entering her favorite Slam

"You come back and see all your friends here. If you go to the practice courts, you see the same people every year. If you enter the locker room, it's the same thing."  

Li keeping eye on Wu Di

Li will be paying close attention to newcomer Wu Di, who became China's first male in a major main draw after winning an Australian Open wild card.

"Of course he will be a little bit nervous in his first Grand Slam, but it's a good experience for him," said Li, who cruised into the third round at her Grand Slam debut in Melbourne in 2005.

Li treated Wu, who also hails from Wuhan, to a big dinner with her husband, Jiang Shan, on Saturday night and hopes to cheer for him at courtside on Tuesday.

"He will play on Tuesday. If I have time, I'll watch him play ... I wish good luck for him."