Chinese tennis champ Li Na is one of the wealthiest female athletes in the world. (Forbes estimates her 2014 earnings at $24 million.) After becoming the first Asian player to win a major at the French Open in 2011 and then winning the Australian Open title last year, Na is probably China’s most famous athlete. She has more than 23 million followers on Sina weibo, China’s version of Twitter, to prove it.
On 60 Minutes (January 25, 7pm on CBS), Na who is now retired and pregnant, tells Lesley Stahl about how she stood up to the stringent Chinese sports system. Li quit the national team in 2008 so she could have the freedom of hiring her own coaching staff and keeping more of her winnings. The change made it possible for only 8 percent of her winnings to go to the Chinese Tennis Association, as opposed to 65 percent previously. Ha started a mini-revolution. In 2012, the requirement of contribution to the Chinese Tennis Association was lifted so now all Chinese players can keep all of their prize money.