women were ranked in the top 100. At the moment, there are three Chinese women ranked in the top 100, i.e. Zie Zheng, a former Wimbledon semifinalist is 16th, Na Li, a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist is 30th and Shuai Peng is 33rd. In total, there are 32 Chinese women on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour rankings which run past 1000. In contrast, Russia currently has 14 women ranked in the top 100 and 84 on the ranking list. Recently, the Chinese authorities allowed the Chinese tennis players the option to go off on their own. Na Li, Zheng Jie and her Grand Slam doubles title winning partner Yan Zi and Peng Shuai, became the only four Chinese tennis players to leave the state-supported system at the end of last year. These players are all still representing China, but they have all appreciated the opportunity to manage their careers more themselves. These players now have to pay for all of their own expenses which were previously paid for by the State. China has clearly had tremendous success historically with its traditional sports training system which has produced so many Olympic medals in many sports. However, tennis is a very individual sport and offering players more flexibility in terms of their training and tournament scheduling may yield even more success. Na Li, who is coached by her husband who is also a member of the national men’s team, has been considered the most promising Chinese woman having recorded wins over both Serena Williams
and Venus Williams
, but she has been hampered by injuries and is currently still struggling with knee problems. In the next few years, one will be able to evaluate whether increased freedom and opportunities for the Chinese tennis players translates into greater success on the tennis court.