flopping hard losing to Daniela Hantuchova in the first round at the Olympics, Li Na announced that she would hire Carlos Rodriguez, Justine Henin’s long time coach, on a trial basis beginning August 16th for the remainder of the 2012 season. He will also travel full time with her.
This is not Rodriguez’s first foray into coaching since Henin retired. When she retired the first time, he worked with Anna Chakvetadze for a few months before the two part ways. He said she didn’t want to work hard enough. He’s not going to be too happy with Li then.
Li, to her credit, has had no shortage of coaching experiments over the past few seasons. First, Thomas Hogstedt left her to coach Maria Sharapova in early 2011. How did Li respond? She defeated Sharapova, and Hogstedt, in the semifinals of Roland Garros on her way to the title under the tutelage of Michael Mortensen, who she fired in late 2011. Li said she didn’t like his ‘mild and gentle’ approach; she wanted someone tougher.
The, uh, interesting dynamic between Li and her sometimes coach, always husband Jiang Shan never failed to amaze in its hilarity. She called him out for snoring in front of thousands at the Australian Open, and is apparently not very good with money. Observe.
Considering his coaching relationship with Henin was, uh, one of ‘interdependence,’ I fail to see how this can be anything but a very large, very comedic failure. First of all, she’s also not one who likes to be told what to do.
Wonder how she feels about a guy from Argentina then?
Henin never made any career decisions without consulting Rodriguez first. Henin shared an emotional bond with Carlos since he was with her from such a young age, and frankly, it became much like a father-daughter relationship. Having one coach for such an extended period means the player doesn’t necessarily need tactical or technical strategy, but only moral support. Li’s strong-willed, Type A personality will clash with Rodriguez’s style. I for one, cannot wait until she calls him out for his first
legal WTA on-court coaching consult.