For the world's most populous nation, it has taken an awfully long time. Finally China has a bona fide tennis superstar, indeed one of the few athletes from the Middle Kingdom who has become recognisable to sports fans across the world. But she is unlikely to stand alone for long.
On Saturday, Li Na became the first tennis player from Asia to win a grand slam singles title when she defeated last year's champion Francesca Schiavone in the French Open final at Roland Garros. If China's enthusiasm for the world's 4th ranked player heralds anything, it seems likely that there will be more aces to follow.
There are precedents. A whole generation of successful Swedish tennis players were inspired by the exploits of Bjorn Borg in the 1970s, while a decade later, a similar renaissance took place in Germany in the wake of the emergence of Boris Becker and Steffi Graff.
But the message for China, indeed for many Asian countries, goes beyond tennis. It is a signal that the world's emerging economies will be flexing their muscles in the sporting arena as well. It has been proven time and again that it is not the size of a country that matters in sporting excellence, but the support any given sport receives in social and monetary terms. Although 1.3 billion people probably won't hurt.
The rest of the world has been warned.