TIME Magazine has not only named Li Na to the TIME 100, the magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people, but it has also chosen the WTA star to grace the cover of the TIME 100 issue.
TIME has named Li Na to the 2013 TIME 100, the magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The full list and related tributes will appear in the April 29 issue of TIME, available on newsstands and tablets this Friday, and right now at time.com/time100.
"I am so excited to be featured on the cover of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People In The World issue," Li said about the prestigious honor on Thursday. "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, especially in my native China. I couldn't be more honored to be on the list that includes some of the most talented people in the world, and to make an impact on women and women athletes.
"I am grateful to TIME for giving women's tennis the recognition it deserves."
The list, currently in its tenth year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world's most influential individuals. As TIME Managing Editor Richard Stengel has said, "The TIME 100 is not a list of the most powerful people in the world, it's not a list of the smartest people in the world, it's a list of the most influential people in the world. They're scientists, they're thinkers, they're philosophers, they're leaders, they're icons, they're artists, they're visionaries. People who are using their ideas, their visions, their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people."
TIME magazine's decision to portray Li on its 2013 TIME 100 cover truly shows the power of women's tennis around the world and the unprecedented growth of the sport of women's tennis in Asia.
After years of showing flashes of future brilliance, Li made several historic breakthroughs in 2011, becoming the first Asian player to reach a Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, subsequently becoming the first Chinese player to reach the Top 10, and a few months later becoming the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam title at the French Open. Earlier this year she made her third Grand Slam final, again at the Australian Open, and she is currently the No.5-ranked player on the WTA.