BEIJING: China’s top tennis player Li Na has blasted media scrutiny of her Olympic preparations by insisting she will not be giving her hen-pecked husband coach the boot for this year’s London Games.
The reigning French Open champion, who has always had an uneasy relationship with the Chinese media, will stick with Jiang Shan and not hire a foreign coach, she told the China Daily.
“I don’t know why the media are so interested,” said the outspoken 30-year-old. “Maybe you are not confident in Jiang Shan and my current team.
“Up to now, I haven’t had any intention of recruiting a foreign coach,” said Li Na, who often pokes fun at her husband in interviews. “I hope the media won’t ask about it again.”
Jiang Shan guided Li Na to the final of last year’s Australian Open, where she lost a tough three-setter to Belgium’s Kim Clijsters.
Danish Fed Cup captain Michael Mortensen took over and helped her win the French Open title but Jiang Shan was reinstated after the US Open.
Li Na’s form dipped after becoming Asia’s first Grand Slam winner in Paris, although the player expressed confidence ahead of the Olympics.
“Compared with reaching the final at the Australian Open last year, people may feel a little bit disappointed about my results this year,” said the world number eight.
“But I think my form is okay right now and I have no regrets so far.”
Li Na has planned her year around London.
“After the French Open, I won’t play any matches until Wimbledon,” she said.
“After Wimbledon, I will go back to China for two days and then see my doctor in Germany.
“Then, I will go to London one week before the Olympics to adjust to the grass court.”
The Games, which take place from July 27 to Aug. 12, will be Li Na’s third Olympics.
“It might be my last Olympic Games, so I don’t want to have any regrets,” said Li Na, who failed to win a medal after losing the third-fourth playoff match on home soil at the 2008 Beijing Games. — Reuters