You're competing at Wimbledon, so you haven't gone home to China since you won the French Open. What do you expect the reception to be?
I knew if I went back to China, many people would come to me and be crazy. So I [stayed] in Munich for four days and turned off my phone. After Melbourne I went back to China, and I couldn't concentrate on the tennis court. I didn't want to make the same mistake.
One Chinese poll found that 44% of people who watched you win the French Open were in tears. Is this added pressure for you?
Only 44%? [Laughs.] No, I think a lot of people were watching because it was 9 o'clock in the evening and it was also the weekend. Maybe because this is the second time I went to the finals, more people were interested. But I never think about pressure.
Your mother has never actually seen you play tennis live because she gets so nervous. Do you think she'll ever change her mind?
I've asked her many times. She always answers, "No, I have my life, and I don't want to change," and also she really doesn't enjoy the sport. So even after the French Open, I didn't call her. I sent a text message saying, "I'm good. Now in Paris, on my way back to Munich." And she said, "I heard you won a tournament."
Is she proud of you?
I think so. But sometimes she doesn't want to show it.
The Williams sisters are back at Wimbledon after injury-related absences. Would you look forward to facing either?
I was happy that they came back after their injuries. It's good for the fans, good for women's tennis. I know both are tough players. I look forward to competing.
Back in 2008, you split with the Chinese Tennis Association, which was entitled to 65% of your earnings. Was that decision based on money, or was there more to it?
Sixty-five percent is like normal because the [All-China Sports] Federation pays everything for you they pay for the coach, hotel, traveling. If you stay in the national team, even if you don't do well, you still have money. I think now there's even more pressure [on me] because I have to pay for myself. We still have to pay a little percentage back to the federation. But I wanted more challenges. I [had never been] on a professional tennis tour.
Do you have more passion for tennis now?
Before, I felt like tennis was my job. I prefer what I'm doing now. I'm the boss, so it's much easier.
What's the story behind the tattoo on your chest?
I'm a romantic, so when I was 16 years old with my now husband, I thought, I should make something only for us. The first time I showed the tattoo, it was big news in the newspaper: "She has a tattoo with a snake." It's not a snake.
What is it?
It's a rose with a heart.
What do you want to do after tennis?
Of course, after I retire I want to be the housewife, really. Maybe a little bit of a copy of my mom. When I was young, she always took care of me, took care of my father. If I have children, after school they'll always feel happy energy in the home.