Li Na poised to become world's top-earning female athlete

02 Aug 2011 11:46

By Malcolm Moore, Shanghai[LNB]12:46PM BST 02 Aug 2011[LNB]Comments[LNB] Mrs Li, 29, has only played four tennis matches and won around £25,000 in prize money since her victory at Roland Garros in June. [LNB]However, she has signed at least $42 million (£26 million) of sponsorship deals this year with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Rolex and Haagen Dazs, who believe that she may be the key to the lucrative Chinese market. [LNB]Her agent, Max Eisenbud, said it was "hard to set a price" after Mrs Li became the first Chinese to win a grand slam tennis tournament. "We had to change it a lot," he added. [LNB]At present, Mrs Li is only out-earned by Maria Sharapova, the glamorous Russian tennis player who she beat in the semi-finals in Paris, but they are likely to swap positions if she can continue to triumph in major tournaments. [LNB]For many Chinese, Mrs Li is a maverick. Known as "China's number one sister" since her victory, she has a tattoo, has dyed her hair, and has been known to shout at both her fans and her husband. [LNB]Related Articles