Two-time Grand Slam winner Li Na opened a new 15,000-seat stadium at the Wuhan Open in central China on Sunday to huge cheers from her hometown fans.
The new stadium has been built on the back of Li's career success – she was the first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles -- that saw the popularity of tennis surge in China.
Huge applause echoed through the stadium as Li, now retired, stepped onto the court wearing a red dress and was joined by the tournament's defending champion Petra Kvitova to open the new stadium officially.
Similar in capacity to Wimbledon's centre court, the new stadium is dwarfed only by the US Open's Arthur Ashe stadium which has a capacity of 23,000. It has a retractable roof and a metal and glass structure reminiscent of the iconic "bird's nest" stadium in Beijing, the centrepiece of the 2008 Olympics.
Czech Kvitova, the world number four, won the inaugural Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Wuhan Open last year, and is joined for the 2015 edition by 18 of the world's top 20.
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