Li Na Says Boisterous Chinese Fans Distracted Her During Finals Loss
Blame it on the fans.
That's what Li Na, 28, did after her loss to Kim Clijsters in the 2011 Australian Open finals Saturday in Melbourne, Australia.
Li blamed Chinese fans who she said distracted her during the match against Clijsters in which she lost 3-6, 6-3. 6-3.
Li became frustrated in her bid to become the first Asian to win a Grand Slam title. After being broken in the second set, Li asked the chair umpire to tell her boisterous fans to keep quiet in the packed Rod Laver Arena. Apparently, some of Li's fans were yelling "finish her" and "beat her" and later "calm down" in Chinese, which seemed to rattle Li.
"The (Chinese) fans, they want me to win this match, but they coach me how to play tennis on the court," Li said after the match."They can talk, but not during the point, you know. Maybe they were excited."
Li also complained about flashes from the cameras on site.
Despite criticizing her fans, Li has been lauded in China for her efforts in the Aussie Open.
"The Chinese fans were prepared to express their feelings and shed their tears of excitement," China Central Television announcer Tong Kexin said. "We were just one step from victory."
CCTV predicted that about 15 million people would watch the women's final live on its channel.
"The meaning isn't just in victory," Tong said. "This will have a benefit on the sport that we perhaps can't measure just yet."
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.