Li Na`s hometown denies statue removal after controversial comment

Beijing: The administration of Chinese tennis ace Li Na`s hometown, Wuhan has denied plans to remove her bronze statue from the local "Walk of Fame" following her comment about playing for herself rather than her country.

"It is a groundless rumor and the statue will stay there," Xinhua quoted Hankou Bund Park administrator Hu Zhijun, as saying.

His comments came after the post on a Chinese social networking site, Sina Weibo claimed that Wuhan has decided to remove Na’s statue due to the "harmful effect" of her comment.

"I`m only a tennis athlete. I`m not here for the country. I just play my tennis. I am just doing my job to try the best," Li had said after beating compatriot Zheng Jie at the Indian Wells tournament in California.

Some said that Li lacks love for China and she could not have made significant achievements without training on the provincial and national teams in the past, while others argued that "playing tennis is Li Na`s job and we all do our jobs for ourselves".

"That`s just Li Na. She plays for herself because she makes a living by competing in international matches. But as a Chinese, she also represents China, of course,” Chinese tennis chief Sun Jinfang said.

Li had quit the tightly-controlled state-run training system and started training on her own in late 2008.