Li distracted by ‘excited’ fans


MELBOURNE – Li Na Saturday complained that excited Chinese fans distracted her during the Australian Open final, when she failed in her attempt to become Asia’s first Grand Slam winner.
The frustrated Li was incensed after being broken in the second set, and asked the chair umpire to ask her vocal fans to keep quiet in the packed Rod Laver Arena. “The (Chinese) fans, they want me to win this match, but they coach me how to play tennis on the court,” she said later. “They can talk, but not during the point, you know. Maybe they were excited.”
The plain-speaking Li, 28, also complained about flash cameras as she succumbed to Belgian Kim Clijsters in three sets, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Despite the defeat, Li said she took great heart from the fact that she pushed Clijsters all the way in her first Grand Slam final.
“Of course, I take positives,” she said of the loss. “I think I play great tennis, but she play better than me.
“After the match, back to the locker room, I make joke, tennis should only play one set (laughter). I still happy what I do today. I am proud of myself.” “I have good experience for beginning of year,” she added. “So I am more confident. Now I am feeling more close to Grand Slam.”
Meanwhile, Li Na delivered a touching tribute to her husband and coach, Jiang Shan, after her heartbreaking loss to Kim Clijsters in the Australian Open final on Saturday. Li, who earlier in the tournament raised laughs by talking about Jiang’s snoring and how she likes spending money on his credit card, told the crowd that she didn’t really mean it.
“I made a lot of jokes about him but it doesn’t matter if you’re fat or skinny, handsome or ugly, I will always follow you and always love you,” she said, after her three-set loss. Jiang is credited with coaxing Li back to tennis after a two-year break. Li also fought hard with Chinese authorities to let Jiang coach her, a move which paid dividends when she became the first Chinese to reach a Grand Slam final.