Li Na's controversy with media lingers in China
Beijing, July 3 (IANS): China’s only Grand Slam winner Li Na had her Wimbledon run cut short while a debate on Li’s way of handling her manners still lingers on.
Li failed to go farther at the All England Club losing 6-7(5), 6-4, 2-6 to Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinal Tuesday.
Li reconciled herself to the loss.
“It was pretty good, really. At least better than the last two years and I proved so many things on the court. I’m proud of myself because at least I was trying to come to the net. I can now use it in important matches so it’s pretty positive,” said Li Na, who came to the net 71 times and won 48 of those points.
The feisty player kept her temper in check and rarely shouted on court. While meeting reporters, Li didn’t lose her cool as she did Monday when she blasted a Chinese reporter who had asked an ‘unpleasant’ question.
“How surprising he sat there. How dare he? Doesn’t he have any shame,” the 31-year-old had said. The reporter had asked Li “whether she wants to say something to Chinese fans who stayed up watching her game” after Li defeated Czech Republic’s Klara Zakopalova 4-6, 6-0, 8-6 in the third round.
It is the same question that had provoked Li’s anger after the former French Open champion was dumped out at Roland Garros in the second round last month.
“Do I need to explain,” Li had said to the reporter.
“It’s strange. I lost a game and that’s it. Do I need to get on my knees and kowtow to them? Apologise to them,” asked Li, who hails from the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Her remarks sparked debate among the Chinese public.
Meifulin, a netizen on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like website, said: “Reporting is that reporter’s job just as playing tennis is your job. How can Li say those graceless words? Too disappointing. If she doesn’t change her attitude, Li may face some bigger challenges and troubles in the future.”
Miaomiaojia, one of Li’s 21.6 million followers on Sina Weibo, commented: “I’m a little disappointed at Li. What that reporter asked is not a tough or insulting question. As a 32-year-old adult, Li should behave more mature and show more respect to others.”
Another Weibo user Xidanluotuo said: “Losing the game triggered Li’s outrage which is a sign of lacking professionalism.”
Netizens compared Li Na with Yao Ming or Roger Federer, who are considered good at dealing with the media and graceful in defeat. On the other hand, many fans chose to stand firm with their idol.
Wang Feng, a sports fan from Jiangsu Province, said: “In my opinion, Li didn’t say those words on purpose. She’s just that kind of person, candid and straightforward, which I appreciate a lot.”
Public opinion has polarised as Li’s erratic temper sometimes led to controversies even before she became a top player. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Li shouted “Shut up!” in English at a cheering Chinese spectator during a women’s singles semifinal match which provoked huge criticism.
Her coach Carlos Rodriguez said Tuesday that she did not mean to say those words but he hoped Li could be friendlier to public and control her temper. “If Li wants to make bigger success, the support of media and fans is necessary and important.”