Sun Jinfang said the World No 8, who crashed out of the US Open in the third round on Friday, was prone to breaking down on court, blaming this on the fact she had focussed purely on sport from an early age. “We have seen for a long time that Li Na can suddenly collapse. Why is this? Because athletes like her have not received a good education,” China’s official Xinhua news agency quoted Sun as saying in a televised interview.
“Li Na has made the choice to concentrate on tennis from a very early age, but a very important piece of her education has been missing. Consequently, she has not developed enough mentally.”
China’s high-pressure state sports school system, which sees young children undergoing rigorous training for up to seven hours a day, has been criticized for not providing a fully rounded education.