LONDON – Asia’s first Grand Slam champion Li Na, who was eliminated at the second round of Wimbledon on Tuesday, said that she felt uncomfortable after learning that she will play the women’s doubles in the Olympic Games.
The 30-year-old Li, the French Open champion in 2001, was defeated by unseeded Romanian Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-4. She has failed to get past the fourth round in any of the five majors after her historic win in Roland Garros.
Li Na of China reacts during her women’s singles tennis match against Ksenia Pervak of Kazakhstan at the Wimbledon tennis championships in London June 25, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
She has been looking forward to coming back to Wimbledon again by playing the Olympic Games but after learning that she had been arranged to play both the singles and doubles, she could not control her emotion.
“What’s the point for me of playing the doubles? I have never played doubles since 2007 at the Australian Open. Why do they want me to play? If they want me to play for fun, it’s much better to give the chance to youngsters,” the outspoken Li told Chinese reporters at Wimbledon.
Li said that the Chinese Tennis Administration, the actual governing body of tennis, has never consulted her before releasing roster for the Olympic Games.
“I knew nothing before a friend texted me about this. I just felt surprised. I hope they should show some respect to the players. It will be my last Olympic Games. I hope to have a perfect ending. It’s a great honor to play at the Olympic Games. But I have never thinking of playing the doubles.
“Since they have made the decision, I have to be obliged to obey. I had thought playing at the Olympics is a simple thing. But it’s so complicated.”
Li has been asked by the Chinese tennis authorities to team up with Zhang Shuai, who failed to enter the main draw at Wimbledon in the singles event and was stopped at the first round of doubles on Monday.
“Zhang Shuai thanked me the other day. I asked her why. She said it was because I would play the doubles with her. But I did not know that,” Li said.
“I think even if they want me to play the doubles, they should tell me in advance. I need time to get myself mentally ready. I have not played doubles for five or six years. And Zhang Shuai has never partnered with me. To be honest, I don’t know how to play the doubles standing on the court now.”
Sun Jinfang, the director of the Chinese Tennis Administration Center, has been in London to watch Wimbledon for a few days but the former volleyballer-turned official has never contacted Li.
“We have never talked to each other after the French Open,” Li said.
Li has never maintained a good relation with the Chinese tennis officials. Recalling her disappointing first time Olympic experience in Sydney in 2008, when she was only 18, she always feels angry because a team official blamed her for not “trying her best” in her first round defeat.
“I am 30 years old. I think you can talk about everything face to face. It makes me very uncomfortable to do things this way,” she said. Source: China Daily