June 19, 2007 / 4:20 AM / 11 years ago

Injured Li likely to play at Wimbledon

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s world number 18 Li Na is likely to play at Wimbledon despite pulling out of a warm-up tournament this week because of a muscle strain, the China Tennis Association (CTA) said on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old became the first Chinese to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam tournament on her first appearance in the main draw at Wimbledon last year.

“Li Na has strained a muscle in her chest,” Xie Miqing, CTA spokeswomen, said by telephone.

“She decided not play in Eastbourne this week to give her time to recover from the injury. She is unlikely to pull out of Wimbledon.”

Zheng Jie, one half of last year’s Wimbledon women’s doubles championship winning team, has already been forced to withdraw from the tournament because of a left ankle injury.

Yan Zi, who won Wimbledon and the Australian Open doubles with Zheng last year, will now be partnered by world number 47 singles player Peng Shuai, Xie said.

The CTA reacted strongly last week when China’s Olympic medical chief, Li Guopeng, accused it of allowing Zheng to play through the injury at the French Open.

“We will not harm our players in order to defend a title,” Xie said.

The 121st Wimbledon championships start on June 25.

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