BEIJING (AFP) –
China’s Li Na on Tuesday credited her new coach with helping her keep her emotions in check on court as Asia’s top women’s player maintained her recent revival at Beijing’s China Open.
The 2011 French Open champion hired Carlos Rodriguez, the ex-coach of former Belgian star Justine Henin, after she dropped out of the top 10 in the world following a first-round defeat at the London Olympics this summer.
Thirty-year-old Li has struggled since becoming Asia’s first Grand Slam winner at Roland Garros last year but has enjoyed a slight uptick in form since appointing Rodriguez.
“I really have to say he’s a very good coach,” Li said, following her straight sets second-round win over Russia’s Nadia Petrova.
“I mean, he not only teaches me how to play tennis. He teaches me a lot about how to do (act) on the court.
“Before it was always easy for me to explode on the court. Now I think I have changed a lot.”
Li won her first tournament since last year’s Paris triumph in August in Cincinnati — a victory that came after the appointment of Rodriguez, who coached former world number one Henin for 15 years.
Li, whose previous coach was husband Jiang Shan, faces compatriot Peng Shuai in the last 16 of the China Open.