WATCH: Li pushed Roland Garros runner-up Coco Gauff to a second-set tiebreak in Berlin.


For young American Ann Li, Wimbledon is the most wonderful time of the year, and the 21-year-old is already getting into the holiday spirit—both on court and in a more literal sense with help from her Instagram algorithm.

“I’ve actually been seeing a lot of Christmas posts, weirdly enough for this time of year,” she said of the current state of her social media. “And I love Christmas: I can probably listen to a little Christmas music right now. Those kinds of clips can bring good vibes all year.”

The King of Prussia native was already in a throwback mood heading into the third major tournament of 2022, but found herself feeling extra nostalgic walking around the All England Club grounds earlier this week.

“I stopped by Court No. 1, which is where I played the finals,” she recalled over the phone on Friday. “It’s still probably one of the coolest moments I’ve had in my tennis career, especially as a junior and being 17 at the time. The stadium was pretty much full, which was really awesome, and I just felt so much energy because people were screaming my name. I’d never really experienced that before so it’s really cool to look back on. Hopefully I get a chance to do that again in the women’s tournament.”

The all-American 2017 girl’s final with Claire Liu seemingly set Li up for a sleigh ride onto the pro circuit, but a global pandemic threatened to derail that early promise.

“The last couple years have been really strange with COVID, but I feel like I actually took good advantage of what I could do.”

She immediately made up for lost time at the 2020 US Open, where she reached the third round. Six months later, she repeated the feat at the Australian Open and, in between, reached her first WTA final in Melbourne.

That breakthrough would ironically go viral as she was famously unable to play the championship match against Anett Kontaveit due to a snap lockdown that wrecked the week’s schedule. While she would go on to officially win her first title later that year in Tenerife, Li would gladly count her Grampians Trophy stalemate among her career accolades.

“I guess the one in Australia didn’t really count because we didn’t play the final, but I still kind of count that! I remember all the pictures we took of the two of us grabbing onto the trophy. I would have loved to play with Anett, and when we finally did get a chance to play in Miami, I was really looking forward to that match.”

Li would get that anticipated win over Kontaveit, but only for a pectoral injury to once again rule her out of much of this year’s clay swing—a near déjà vu of the abdominal injury lay-off that sidelined her 12 months prior.


“It wasn’t a sudden move that got it but over time it got worse and worse. It went away for a bit and came back but it was a little unexpected,” she explained.

She returned to action at Roland Garros, and since having to retire from her first match against Alison van Uytvanck, Li has looked much improved on grass, keeping things close with Coco Gauff over two sets in Berlin.

“It’s been an interesting ride and I’ve obviously had injuries here and there, which haven’t helped. I think after Tenerife, I was ranked around No. 44, so hopefully I can keep my body healthy just to stay consistent and keep playing matches. Hopefully, I’ll get a little better every day and then I’ll see what happens from there.”

Currently ranked No. 67, Li will play Lucia Bronzetti in the first round, and aims for a maiden Wimbledon main-draw victory—or, "an early Christmas present."