Li Na

Tennis player

For keeping the ball in her court.

To young athletes, Chinese tennis sensation Li Na is an inspiration: She broke away from her government's restrictive sports machine--which trains athletes and
demands most of their earnings--in 2008, to work with better coaches abroad. She's since won two Majors, most recently at the 2014 Australia Open. But to Li's peers, she's a model of barrier-breaking acumen--the only Nike-sponsored athlete ever permitted to wear patches from other sponsors on her Nike gear. "It was always important for me to be a strong person both on and off the court," Li says.

[Image courtesy of Nike]

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