China Official Blames Li Na's 'Meltdown' On Lack Of Education
A top Chinese tennis official has questioned LI NA's mental toughness following her early exit from the U.S. Open last week, blaming a "lack of education," according to Alastair Himmer of REUTERS. Chinese Tennis Association Secretary SUN JINFANG said, "We've seen lots of meltdowns (from) Li in recent months." Sun suggested it was "quite normal" for Chinese athletes who did not receive "enough education" to suffer from a lack of mental strength. Sun: "Without good education, (athletes) are just like well-designed computers with ill-suited software - impossible to perform their best" (REUTERS, 9/4). The AFP noted China's high-pressure state sports school system, "which sees young children undergoing rigorous training for up to seven hours a day," has taken criticism for not providing a fully rounded education. Li opted out of the national state sports system in '08 "under a pilot scheme that allows tennis players to set up their own training team and keep most of their winnings" (AFP, 9/4).