Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka has shot to world number three, while compatriot Roger Federer is at his lowest ebb in over a decade.
ATP top 10 (previous ranking)
Rafael Nadal (1) Novak Djokovic (2) Stanislas Wawrinka (8) Juan Martin Del Potro (5) David Ferrer (3) Andy Murray (4) Tomas Berdych (7) Roger Federer (6) Richard Gasquet (9) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (10)
Wawrinka climbed five spots on the back of his Melbourne Park triumph over Rafael Nadal, who comfortably maintains his spot atop the rankings.
Cibulkova shocked the world as she ousted Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep en route to a maiden grand slam final berth. As a result, the Slovak has jumped 11 spots in the rankings, from 24th in the world to 13th - one spot off her career-high ranking of 12 which she achieved in mid-2009.
Canada's Bouchard joined her in the top 20, jumping from 31 to 19. The 19-year-old was the other big shock on the women's side of the draw but had a considerably easier run than Cibulkova, with Ana Ivanovic the only seed she knocked out.
A day after Li’s Australian Open victory, Xu Zhiyong, a Chinese legal scholar once eulogized in the local edition of Esquire, gave another public statement. The atmosphere in the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court was rather less celebratory than at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
Xu had just been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on charges of assembling a crowd to disrupt order at public places. Unlike Li Na, whose silence on the Chinese state carried its own message, Xu directly addressed the authorities dictating his fate. “This is actually an issue of fears you all carry within,” he said. “Fear of a public trial, fear of a citizen’s freedom to observe a trial, fear of my name appearing online and fear of the free society nearly upon us.” The judge did not allow Xu to finish his closing statement, deeming it “irrelevant” to the proceedings, according to Xu’s lawyer.
Li Na and Xu Zhiyong are both fighters. They have, however, chosen divergent ways to battle the absurdities and rigidities of the Chinese state. In 2008, Li broke with the national sports system, which had both created and threatened to destroy her career. Negotiating her exit was traumatic; Li had retired once before rather than take on China’s sports czars, who claimed the bulk of her winnings and expected obeisance for molding a 5-year-old into a future tennis ace. Yet her independence paid off. Li’s two Grand Slam titles came only after she began to “fly solo,” as her former tennis overlords call her escape from state sports. At the twilight of her career, the soon-to-be 32 year old is playing the best tennis of her life.
Xu, by contrast, worked scrupulously within the confines of the Chinese legal system, calling for the protection of rights guaranteed by China’s own constitution. Two of the main causes he championed—pushing for officials to disclose their assets and campaigning for the education of migrants’ children—limned the publicly stated goals of China’s leadership. Still, Xu’s freedom was doomed by his defense of the disenfranchised and his co-founding of a New Citizens’ Movement dedicated to upholding the legal rights of ordinary Chinese. The nation’s President Xi Jinping once promoted the glories of China’s constitutional underpinnings. Now China’s state-linked media warn of the perils of “constitutionalism” and attack Xu as a dissident “stir[ring] up fierce friction with mainstream society.”
Li, too, has been berated for her individualism and refusal to constantly play patriot. Last July, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece People’s Daily denigrated her “unbridled willfulness” and wondered “who will be there to restrain it?” On Jan. 28, in an editorial lambasting Western governments’ support for Xu and his fellow rights crusaders, the Communist Party-linked Global Times noted that “Beijing remains backward in soft power compared with Western countries.” That’s true. But it is precisely because the Chinese government and its propagandists tear down individuals like Li Na and Xu Zhiyong that Beijing’s reputation languishes overseas. China’s top tennis star and its jailed legal advocate are both heroes. Many Chinese, especially those who don’t make the mistake of confusing patriotism with blindly supporting unelected leaders, recognize that. Can China’s government, amid one of the most concerted human-rights crackdowns in years, ever do the same?