Born: Feb. 26, 1982
Li Na is known for being arebel-on the court and off. The 30-year-old from the central province of Hubei became the first Asian-born tennis player to win a singles Grand Slamchampionshipin 2011 and will beChina's wealthiest tennis star to hit the Olympic courts.
Ms. Li defied her country's state-run sports program, which forced her to hand over 65% of her winnings, in 2008, when she left the Soviet-style program to start her own team, find her own sponsors, and pocket her own earnings.
Companies such as Nike, Visa, and Haagen-Daaz, have been showering Ms. Li withendorsementdeals, making her one of the highest-paid female athletes, according todatacompiled by Forbes magazine.
At her last Olympic showing during the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, Ms. Li lost a match that would have won her a bronzemedal. She will try again in London, an event which many believe will be her last Olympics and final shot at taking home a medal.
"So few athletes have this chance to play in the Olympics for their country. I feel proud tocompete." -from aninterviewwith theChinaDaily