Sunday, October 2, 2011

Li Na's "gender" problems continue in Beijing

Last month, Li Na declared that her streaky performances this season have occurred because of her gender. "The female players are not as harsh or as tough as male players, they want to take some time to re-adjust themselves after a big victory in a big event," she said. Can you imagine, if someone had said she was losing because she was Chinese? That would have been equally ridiculous, and perhaps even Li would have realized that it would have been equally offensive.

But rather than discuss the internalized sexism of the WTA in general and Li Na in particular, I'll mention that the Chinese star has been a streaky player throughout her career, so nothing has really changed. It's just that--now that she's the French Open champion--her ups and downs (mostly downs lately) are in much tighter focus. Today, Li lost in the first round of the China Open, and worse--she won only four games against a qualifier. Monica Niculescu defeated her 6-4, 6-0.

Li, while in the apparently lengthy process of "re-adjusting" herself, recently signed on with two additional sponsors. She also stopped working with her coach.

Last year, Li reached the semifinals in Beijing, so she loses a lot of points this week. The China Open is not only Li's home tournament; it's also the last big tournament of the season. The off-season probably can't come soon enough for the French Open champion.


Todd Spiker said...

Hmmm, not that one has anything to do with the other,of course, but your mentioning of "gender" in the headline made me want to point out that ESPN is debuting its Renee Richards documentary on Tuesday, just in case you didn't know about it.

Outside of the "surface story" there, I don't really know a whole lot about her life. So I'm looking forward to watching it.

Diane said...

Ah, I forgot all about that! Thanks so much for the reminder, Todd; I plan to watch it. The great Vanessa Redgrave was in a biopic about her years ago, and it's worth watching.

Richards was apparently a pretty good coach for Martina N., but she couldn't handle Nancy Lieberman, so she left. Her story is quite interesting.

Karen said...

When I read that quote from Li about the lack of mentality of the women I hoped that she had been misquoted but that does not seem to be the case. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why all of the women, even those who are touted as being mentally tough are so happy to have some man come down court side and hold their hands while they play.

I doubt if they realise just how ineffective it makes them look. I wonder how BJK and other women who played in an era where we did not have on court coaching feel about this. It is surprising that Graf who has stayed out of the spotlight chose not to comment on the real issues affecting women's tennis but join the bandwagon of those decrying Serena's behaviour (which IMHO I did not find as egregious as most others) at this year's US Open. I would have preferred if Mrs. Agassi had chosen to continue to stay out of the spotlight on this one.

Diane said...

I didn't know that Graf had said anything. Has she also come out against drugging, lying, throwing matches, and hurling sexual insults at lineswomen?

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