NEW YORK, NY, USA - The USTA announced on Thursday that Li Na has received the second annual US Open Sportsmanship Award, presented to the male and female players who best demonstrate excellence in sportsmanship throughout the Emirates Airline US Open Series and the US Open.
The award was presented to Li by USTA Sportsmanship Selection Committee Chairman Todd Martin.
"As one of the most successful and respected players on tour, Li Na embodies what a champion truly is," USTA Chairman, CEO and President Dave Haggerty said of the 2011 French Open champion and former World No.4. "We couldn't be happier to honor her with the US Open Sportsmanship Award."
The USTA started a Sportsmanship Committee in 2011 to "educate and inspire youngsters and their parents to develop and exhibit a high degree of sportsmanship and an attitude of fair play and mutual respect on and off the tennis court," and also that "fairness is more important than winning."
Eligibility requirements for winners include participating in at least two Emirates Airline US Open Series tournaments, as well as the US Open. Each US Open Sportsmanship Award winner receives a trophy and a $5,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice. The men's winner this year was David Ferrer - the winners in the inaugural year of the award last year were the Bryan brothers and Sam Stosur.
Li has looked phenomenal this fortnight, not dropping a set en route to the quarterfinals and then taking out Ekaterina Makarova - who had beaten Agnieszka Radwanska - in three sets to reach the semifinals. It's her first US Open semifinal - she has now been to the semifinals at three of the four Grand Slams, the only one missing being Wimbledon (where she is a three-time quarterfinalist).