Li Na firmly believes that Japan’s world number five Kei Nishikori can follow in her footsteps and become the second Asian player to win a Grand Slam.

Li Na firmly believes that Kei Nishikori can follow in her footsteps by adding to Asia’s Grand Slam haul.

China’s Li became the first major winner from the continent with victory at the 2011 French Open, and also won the 2014 Australian Open before being forced into retirement last year because of a knee injury.

The 32-year-old insists that Japan’s Nishikori, who reached the US Open final and number five ranking in the world last year – making him the highest-ranked Asian man in tour history – has what it takes to join her elite company.

“I think he’s an amazing player,” Li told The AP. “It’s not easy to be on the top.

“I know how hard working he [is]. So I believe he can win a Grand Slam. Seriously.”

Nishikori began his 2015 Australian Open campaign with a straight-sets victory over Nicolas Almagro on Tuesday.

Afterwards he admitted that Li is an inspiration for Asian tennis and that he hopes to match her legacy before his career is out.

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