China's hunt for the next Li Na

    National treasure Li Na retired from tennis in 2014

    Story highlights

    • Li retired September 2014.
    • State-sponsored system funds tennis boom
    • $225m Wuhan Open facility aims to improve Chinese tennis
    • Zhang reached Australian Open quarterfinal

    Wuhan, China (CNN)Zhang Shuai may be the world No. 38, but as China's top-ranked tennis player she commands more media attention than some grand slam champions.

    Half an hour after losing her first-round match to Britain's Jo Konta at last week's Wuhan Open in the hometown of Asia's first major singles winner, Li Na, about 50 Chinese journalists rushed to the huge main press conference room to grill Zhang about her performance.
      With Li now retired, the hunt is very much on for China's next tennis superstar.
      "Not everyone can be like Li Na," Zhang said in an interview at the Wuhan Open in Hubei province, central China. "If you ask a Swiss, who is the next Roger Federer? No one can tell you who the next Federer is."
      Zhang Shuai in action at the Wuhan Open, where she lost to Britain's Jo Konta.