Li calls for change
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:25
The outspoken 27-year-old along with two-time grand slam doubles winning pair of Zheng Jie and Yan Zi and Peng Shuai were the first to be allowed to leave the state-supported system at the end of last year.
“I love what it is right now. In the past, national or the provincial sports administrators arranged everything for you and you have no options but to follow their arrangements,” she told the China Daily before heading to Germany for next week’s Fed Cup tie.
Li, Wimbledon semi-finalist Zheng and Peng are the only Chinese players currently ranked inside the world’s top 150 – the trio all lie inside the top 35 – while only Yuan Meng, Lu Jingjing and Yan feature among the next 100.
And despite admitting her decision to break away has led her to face more “life pressure than before” as she has to pay all expenses which were previously covered by the state, Li has called for youngsters to be given “the right to choose”.
The quartet now have more control over their own careers and can keep a larger proportion of prize money.
She added: “If I had an opportunity to choose what I wanted to do in childhood, I wouldn’t go for tennis. It is a sport that I was always pushed to do, first by my parents, then provincial and national sports administrators.
“It is very important for us to have the right to choose. I really mean it.”