Doubles task ahead for Li in London?
Updated: 2012-06-28 08:11
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Li Na (right) could play doubles with Zhang Shuai.
Li Na's aim to only focus on the singles at the London Olympics may get spoiled.
After stressing she wouldn't play the doubles at the London Games just two weeks ago, the world No 11 has found her name on the Olympic doubles entry list released by the ITF (International Tennis Federation) on Tuesday.
However, the ITF list doesn't guarantee Li will appear in the doubles, said the Chinese Tennis Association (CTA).
"It's not decided yet. The ITF announced the list based on the rankings but still has to confirm with us and the players (whether the listed athletes will play or not)," CTA spokeswoman Xie Miqing told China Daily on Wednesday.
Xie said China's formal Olympic roster would be announced on Thursday.
"The deadline (to hand in the final roster) is June 28 and the association's leaders are in London discussing the doubles with her (Li) right now," said Xie.
According to the current ITF roster, Li will team with youngster Zhang Shuai at the All-England Club.
Chinese veteran Zheng Jie and promising star Peng Shuai will form the main doubles partnership.
Although vowing to give her best at what will probably be her last Olympics, the 30-year-old Li is reluctant to shoulder the extra burden of doubles play.
The 2011 French Open champion hasn't played doubles for five years and her sometimes volatile temperament is an X-factor in building harmony with others.
Still, CTA chief Sun Jinfang hopes Li can partner Zhang as the 23-year-old can only go to London as a doubles player.
"I hope Li wants to play doubles with our young gun. It would mean an extra ticket for China's tennis. It's possible (for Li to play in doubles) if she is healthy going into the Games. But now it's too early to make that decision," Sun said last month.
The nation won its first tennis gold medal in the women's doubles at the 2004 Athens Games (Li Ting and Sun Tiantian). China then grabbed bronze (Zheng and her former partner, Yan Zi) at the Beijing Games four years later.
(China Daily 06/28/2012 page22)