SHANGHAI, June 28 China's top tennis player Li
Na slammed her tennis federation after being blindsided by their
decision to enter her into the Olympic doubles tournament at the
The 2011 French Open champion was named in the women's
singles and doubles in an entry list released by the
International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Tuesday.
Li's team told local media earlier this month that she hoped
to focus only on the singles given her injuries, regardless of
Chinese sports officials' wishes to have her play in both
"If it were true, I don't know why they wanted me to play
doubles," Li, who was named to partner Zhang Shuai in the
doubles, told Chinese media when asked about her selection.
"Last time I played doubles was during the 2007 Australian
"So far I have not heard from anyone asking me to play
doubles," she added.
"I hope they could respect athletes more ... the way they
handled this makes me uncomfortable."
Li's 23-year-old partner Zhang failed to qualify for the
ongoing Wimbledon's singles and was tipped out of the doubles in
the first round.
"I am not 13-years-old and need a guardian," the outspoken
Li fumed. "I am 30 now and all these issues could have been put
on the table. If both (parties) are okay, we do it, otherwise we
Li, whose French Open triumph last year made her the first
player from an Asian country to win a grand slam tournament,
tumbled out of Wimbledon with a second round loss to Romania's
Sorana Cirstea on Wednesday.
Li has long had a testy relationship with Chinese
officialdom since she publicly criticised the national team's
heavy-handed system in 2005.
After clashing with the Chinese Tennis Association over
training routines and pay, Li and a handful of other top Chinese
women were permitted to break away from the country's
Soviet-style sports regime in 2009 to organise their own coaches
and touring - and retain most of their prize-money.
Defying officials over the Olympics, however, would be dimly
viewed in her home country of 1.3 billion, and Li said she had
obliged herself to "obey" the decision with it already taken out
of her hands.
"Life is like a cup of tea. It won't be bitter for a
life-time but for a short while anyway," she said, striking a
more philosophical tone in a message posted on Weibo, the
Chinese equivalent of Twitter, where she boasts 5.6 million
(Reporting By Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Ian Ransom)