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Li Na wins US Open Sportsmanship Award

Agencies/chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-09-06 17:36

Li Na wins US Open Sportsmanship Award

Li Na, right, receives the award from USTA Immediate Past President Jon Vegosen at the US Open, on Sept 5, 2013. [Photo from usopen.org]

The fifth seed Li Na was awarded 2013 "US Open Sportsmanship Award," presented annually to the male and female pros who best demonstrate excellence in sportsmanship throughout the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the US Open.

The award was presented to Li on Thursday at the US Open by USTA Immediate Past President Jon Vegosen.

"As one of the most successful and respected players on tour, Li embodies what a champion truly is," said USTA Chairman, CEO and President Dave Haggerty. "We couldn't be happier to honor her with the US Open Sportsmanship Award."

The USTA started a Sportsmanship Committee in 2011, with the goal being to, "educate and inspire youngsters and their parents to develop and exhibit a high degree of sportsmanship and an attitude of fair play and mutual respect on and off the tennis court. Underlying the charge is the ethical imperative that fairness is more important than winning."

The champion at Roland Garros in 2011 is one of China's most popular athletes, a symbol of modern female independence to country with a population over one billion people. Earlier this year, Li appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and was named to its annual list of the "100 Most Influential People in the World."

"It's a great honor for me to be in the position of being able to help grow, promote and further build the sport of women's tennis around the world," said Li in Time.

Eligibility requirements for winners include participating in at least two Series tournaments, as well as the 2013 US Open. Li reached the semifinals at both the Rogers Cup in Toronto and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, losing to Romania's Sorana Cirstea and Williams, respectively. The 31-year-old will again face Williams on Friday afternoon inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. If she wins, it would be her first US Open final appearance.

Each US Open Sportsmanship Award winner receives a trophy and a $5,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice. The men's winner this year was David Ferrer, with Bob and Mike Bryan and Samantha Stosur earning the inaugural awards at the 2012 US Open.

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