Li Na is not enjoying her summer in Britain

Updated: 2012-08-02 07:43:02

By Chen Xiangfeng in London ( China Daily)

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Li Na is not enjoying her summer in Britain 

Li was knocked out in the first round of women’s singles tennis matches. TAO XIYI / XINHUA


China has a few notable international stars who are able to draw the global limelight at the London Olympic Games.

Yi Jianlian, who plies his trade in the NBA, is battling it out with the national basketball team. Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen have risen to superstar status in the swimming pool and 110m hurdler Liu Xiang is gearing up for next week's track and field competition.

But as their stars continue to rise, 2011 French Open champion Li Na's appears to be sinking as she appeared to be totally lost at the All-England Club in Wimbledon.

Her aura continues to diminish after her Olympic journey ended in disastrous style.

She's hoping a new coach will help her turn things around.

Li, who lost her first-round singles match to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia on Saturday, also fell early in the doubles competition with compatriot Zhang Shuai on Tuesday as they crashed 6-3, 6-1 to Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic in the last 16.

Li said she was aware of the importance of the Olympics and admitted she was not at her best in London.

"I don't think the Olympic are only important for Chinese people.Otherwise, we would just call it the China Open," Li said. "Every athlete in every sport is fighting for their country."

The No 10 seed finished fourth at the Beijing Games four years ago.

"There are no easy matches at the Olympics. I know we are professional players, but the Olympics is different. I tried hard here, but it did not work out."

Li wanted to deliver something for her country in what might be her last Games, but Wimbledon turned out to be a sad place for her - again.

Li lost to Sorana Cirstea in the second round of Wimbledon in June.

Adding to her misery may be a souring relationship with Chinese media and local tennis authorities.

When asked if she felt uncomfortable on the grass compared to hard and clay surfaces, she retorted:"Please do not ask such questions just because I lost a match on grass. I just lost a match. It's really a matter of losing to another person, is not it?"

The relationship soured further when she refused to answer questions from the media back home after her Wimbledon flop.

Furthermore, her relationship with the Chinese Tennis Association is also tense as she reportedly didn't want to play in the doubles in London in order to concentrate solely on the singles.

"I did not try to boycott the doubles competition," Li said recently. "The problem is (the CTA) did not notify me before making the announcement (to make me play with Zhang in London). It made me feel uncomfortable."

Neither Li nor the CTA have made any public comments on the issue since.

However, Li said this would be her last foray into doubles.

"It's my first doubles event in the Olympics. I tried my best and it was a good experience. But I will not try anymore."

Meanwhile, Li also announced she has found a new coach former world No 1 Justine Henin's mentor, Carlos Rodriguez.

"Rodriguez will join my team before this year's US Open (later this month)," she said.

Her current coach is her husband, Jiang Shan. Li said the move was not made because her husband was not qualified for the job.

"It's not his problem. We just have too many relationships. Coach and player, husband and wife, employee and employer. Sometimes, it's too difficult to find the balance between us," said Li. "I think the change will be good for both of us."



Medal Count

1 46 29 29
2 38 27 22
3 29 17 19
4 24 25 33
5 13 8 7
6 11 19 14

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