The poor international exposure is also something that struck me this year. however, Vietnam being a close friend of China, I expect to see them again next year <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> .
Obviously, the game development strategy did not do much in Shanghai with Li Na losing at the first round. What surprised me too was that she did not go to Bali while she had a wild card. Liu Nan Nan went instead as finalist of the ITF tourney.
Chinese seem to be much into country competitions : Olympic Games, Universiade and Asian Games to come. It looks like they have a different concept of tennis. Being more of a game to represent national interests more than anything else. If so, I would guess this is having some sort of impact on the players.
I had mentioned in the former website that there had been a large team of officials during the Hochiminh ITF tourney. Including one as an "observer" (do not know what that means). There were besides 2 coaches : one national and one from East Europe. There seemed to be some conflicts between the national coach and some players. But not much filtered anyway.
Li Na played some Grand Slam qualies last year. She had even better results than Wynne. But she failed to capitalise on her potential. I guess something went terribly wrong mentally while Wynne held on to it, went trough some terrible doubts and made it through. When you think that 2 years ago, Na had beaten Wynne something like 6/1 6/2!!! This year, she had easily beaten Roberta Vinci (not to mention Widjaja). These are important victories.
It is not possible the Chinese Federation does not realise the potential she has. But I also do not know how she gets along with the Federation... Even if she did not get along that well, there are other potential Chinese players whose career is just wasted! I can not believe that the Chinese Tennis Federation has no funds to sponsor their players to go overseas :<br />- China is always heavily investing on sport<br />- even if they sponsor their players, players in return have to give back most of the prize money they get. So it is some kind of investment.
Li Na speaks English quite well. I spoke a few words with her last time and she understood and replied perfectly well. That is why I hope for next time... <img src="cool.gif" border="0">
As for Li Ting, she was playing OK two years ago, though below Li Na of course. As for last year, she seemed to have no motivation at all. She was just having fun on the court during the doubles match but not playing seriously. I think she had plans however to leave the next day for another tourney.
I think she is good but not excellent. I am not sure she is that motivated and if I remember correctly, she makes a lot of direct errors. I would think she is not in par with Li Na or Liu Nan Nan. Even if she has beaten Liu Nan Nan in the past. There are 3 years of difference between the two. Maybe Li Ting has found some new motivation since then and is fighting more on the court now... I hpoe I'll see next year.
I tried by the way to talk to the national coach, but he does not understand much English. He seems a nice guy though. Next time, if Ka Po is here too, I might ask her to translate for me <img src="wink.gif" border="0"> .
I am at least as curious as you are to know what's going on there and why so much talent is wasted.