Li's speech leaves 'em laughing

Updated: 2014-01-26 07:32

By Agence France-Presse in Melbourne (China Daily)

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Li's speech leaves 'em laughing

 Li's speech leaves 'em laughing

Li Na celebrates defeating Dominika Cibulkova in the women's final at the Australian Open on Saturday in Melbourne. David Gray / Reuters

Aussie Open champion throws out the zingers during trophy ceremony at Rod Laver Arena

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

The Chinese star, 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 (3), 6-0.

"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 is even famous in China," she said.

Li's speech leaves 'em laughing

"So thanks for him giving up everything, traveling with me to be my hitting partner, fixing the drinks and fixing my rackets.

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

The 31-year-old has frequently poked fun at her husband in public, kidding about everything from his snoring to his cooking skills.

Asked later whether Jiang ever grew tired of being ridiculed, she replied: "If he says 'enough', I think we will divorce."

Li also told reporters she should thank Czech 26th seed Lucie Safarova for narrowly missing on a match point against her in the third round. "I think I should send an e-mail to Safarova," she said.

And she said her win was good for Chinese sponsors, who sometimes forget about time differen-ces to ring Eisenbud in the middle of the night.

"It is not very good for him. Try to lose the weight," laughed Li.

"Sorry about that," she said to Eisenbud.

(China Daily 01/26/2014 page12)