• Sat
  • Jul 12, 2014
  • Updated: 2:31am

Li Na

Won the 2011 French Open women's singles tennis title, becoming the first player from China to win a grand slam in singles. She also reached the final of the 2011 Australian Open.


China netizens turn on Li Na after defeat outburst

Chinese media and internet users question player's professionalism over her graceless retort about French Open loss to Mattek-Sands

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 May, 2013, 6:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 6:44am

Li Na was the object of widespread media and online criticism on the mainland yesterday, after a graceless response to her French Open defeat.

Li, who won the tournament in 2011 to seal her place as one of China's sporting stars, crashed out 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 to unseeded American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in a rain-interrupted second-round match.

At the post-match press conference, the sixth seed reacted tersely when asked if she had an explanation for her fans at home.

"Do I need to explain?" she riposted in Putonghua. "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?"

Her remarks sparked condemnation from mainland media and outrage from people who posted on Sina Weibo, even among her fans.

In a commentary, Xinhua sports journalist Zhang Rongfeng wrote: "Losing the game and her bad temper were direct triggers of her episode at the presser.

"But if we take a closer look, her 'unfriendliness' has a lot to do with her lack of professionalism.

"As a successful athlete, Li Na may be very professional with her training, game experience, PR team operation, and so on, but she is not with her attitude towards the media. She's impatient and not respectful enough to the media."

A user named Dibayin commented: "Li lost the game, which is normal - no one wins all the time. It's her insensitivity that is the problem. What I want to ask Li Na is, why did you think you could just go off at the presser?

"Did you think you were still in the rice fields in your hometown in Hubei province? Losing the game is OK, you can win it next time. What you really need to improve is your courtesy and behaviour."

Another user, Shenyu K, seemed to agree. "I am a fan of Li Na, but I really don't like this side of her - not her losing the game, but what she said afterwards.

"It doesn't matter so much that she lost the game as she acted like a bitch and took out her frustration on the media and her fans. It's not unprecedented, she has blamed her husband and her coach before."

Meanwhile, better known for her outrageous outfits, Mattek-Sands says she is finally letting her racquet do the talking.

Mattek-Sands' off-beat on-court costumes, including jackets adorned with tennis balls, leopard-print dresses and knee-length long socks, have earned her the title of the "Lady Gaga of tennis".

In the past, however, her game has often failed to hit the high notes.

"I haven't worn anything too crazy on court for a few years now," she said. "I feel like my racquet has been doing a lot of the talking."

The warpaint that used to adorn her face was also left on the shelf for Thursday's match. But, if her mood dictates, it might make a return. "Well, it's funny. The chair umpire asked me the other day if I was missing my make-up," she added. "My fashion kind of goes with my moods. I do spur-of-the-moment things."


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

i dont get the ....losing players need to apologize to China for losing....it's becoming more obvious sports in China has become less about participating with others and more about dominating others...
Good on her. If there is any section of society less deserving of respect than the sporting press, it is idiots ranting on the internet about perceived slights.
But not me obviously, I am spot on every time.
Whoever criticized her on the internet should really just **** off. These netizens have contributed nothing towards her success and therefore they really have no right to criticize her.
And the sports media. I don't want to get started, but in short I liken them to parasites.
Well done Li Na...
"She's impatient and not respectful enough to the media."
Why should anyone have to be respectful to the media? Do they have some special status or great wisdom and insights?
It seems to be a matter between her and her coach to find a way to compete better. It has nothing to do with bloggers and media. When she figures it out, she will win. She has won a grand slam, something no other PRC tennis player has done and I will bet that none of the media/bloggers have done so either. Personally, I like her directness. She lost and she admits she was not playing as well as her competition. I saw the interview on the international news and she was pretty straight-forward and did not blame others for the loss.
How else would you expect her to react to such a stupid question which was clearly intended to elicit an emotional reaction? I don't blame her for getting angry at someone who purposely insulted her intelligence just to get a story...
Good for her! I sympathize with Li Na and can understand completely if she feels that the Chinese public, perhaps through its media, behave as if they own her and that she owes all of her success to them. One of the attractive features of Li Na's personality and story is that she has always rejected this idea. She has explicitly said on more than one occasion that she plays for herself and for her friends and family, not for the nation. If the Chinese public want to appropriate Li Na's achievements as their own, then let them pick up a racquet and see how well they do.
Evidently Li Na has much to learn about the media game. Rehe**** a fan acceptable line about
how you are sorry you didn't play as well as you should, you let the fans down and you will try
harder next time. This probably isn't what she really feels, but it's what mind-numbed fans with
no better use for their time than to pay attention to sports gossip seem to want to hear.




SCMP.com Account