Chinese tennis needs to ‘grow up,’ says Li Na

first_imgBSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Hopes were high when Peng Shuai reached the 2014 US Open semi-finals, shortly after Li’s retirement, and Zhang Shuai won her second Guangzhou Open title this year.Wu Yibing also became China’s first boys Grand Slam singles champion at last month’s US Open. But nobody has consistently challenged at the highest levels.In Wuhan, five Chinese women were in the main draw but Wang Qiang was the only one to reach the third round — the best ever performance by a home player in the tournament.Peter McNamara, Wang’s Australian coach, said the high expectations created by Li’s career were a problem for Chinese players.“I think it’s very intimidating having such a great player and champion who did raise the bar to a level that’s pretty hard to get to,” he said.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES “I never bring it up, about trying to reach her heights.”Maverick or modest?Li was always a special case for Chinese tennis, as she took the maverick step of breaking away from state control to forge her career on her own terms.The 35-year-old said that modesty, a typical trait of Chinese culture, could be holding players back. Peng is currently the top ranked Chinese player at 24, with Zhang at 26.“They always say ‘Oh, I’m not so good’ but for the sport you have to show all of the world (you are good),” Li said.World number one Garbine Muguruza also said she found Chinese players “very respectful on the court… very quiet”, in contrast to Li, who she described as having great “intensity”.Fabrice Chouquet, Wuhan co-tournament director, told AFP that tennis in China was in the middle of a transition between two generations.“We have a solid number one and two here,” he said, referring to Peng and Zhang. “And behind them a younger generation of players that is really going to come up.”Wang Qiang is part of that new crop, says McNamara, and has yet to reach her full potential.“My girl is a baby. She’s 25 but she’s 20 as a tennis player,” he said. “This is the thing about Chinese players, they mature late.” Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Move over Neymar: how rugby players hope to change Brazil Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Li Na. AFP FILE PHOTOLi Na said she’s sorry Chinese tennis has not moved on more since her retirement, as the country’s fruitless search for a new champion continues.Li’s two Grand Slam titles set the bar extremely high for her fellow Chinese, who have laboured in vain to match her trail-blazing achievements.ADVERTISEMENT Chinese tennis success has mainly come from women, with Wu’s victory in New York an anomaly. While there are five Chinese women in the top 100 and 11 in the top 200, the top Chinese man is 220-ranked Wu Di.McNamara said the divide could also be explained by culture in the country of the one-child policy, where sons are highly prized.“Boys get it fairly easy. Girls don’t,” he said, adding: “They fight very hard, the girls.“You can see their mentality on the court. They will go to untold lengths to improve.”center_img Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  MOST READ The contrast was laid bare at last week’s Wuhan Open, where Li received a rock-star welcome during a brief appearance, but none of the Chinese players went beyond the third round.Following her rapturous reception in Wuhan, her home city, Li said she was disappointed that China hadn’t found a new star to love since she stepped off tour in 2014.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Actually, I didn’t like (that) people always remember me,” said Li, who won the French Open in 2011 and the Australian Open in 2014. “That means Chinese tennis didn’t grow up.”“(When) I decided to retire, I was thinking next day (new Chinese winners) would come,” she added. View commentslast_img read more

Timberwolves fire coach, president Tom Thibodeau

first_imgMinnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau directs his team against the Orlando Magic in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves fired coach Tom Thibodeau on Sunday, halfway into his third season with the team that began with the turmoil surrounding the eventual trade of All-Star Jimmy Butler.Thibodeau was dismissed about an hour after the 108-86 victory over the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers .ADVERTISEMENT Scott Layden will remain the general manager overseeing the basketball operations and assistant coach Ryan Saunders will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.“We would like to thank Tom for his efforts and wish him all the best,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. “These decisions are never easy to make, but we felt them necessary to move our organization forward.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionThe Athletic first reported that Thibodeau, who was also the president of basketball operations with full authority over the roster, had been let go. Saunders is the son of the late Flip Saunders, who’s the winningest coach in club history.Thibodeau finished 97-107 with the Wolves, who returned to the NBA playoffs last spring after a 13-year absence. As Butler, Thibodeau’s prized acquisition who played for him in Chicago, forced his way out of Minnesota, however, he found himself in a tenuous spot. The Wolves barely reached the postseason, needing to beat Denver in overtime at home in the final game of the regular season, and were beaten by Houston in five games in the first round. Butler pushed the organization into a corner when his stance that he wouldn’t sign a new contract with the team became public two weeks before training camp began.The insistence of Thibodeau and Layden to hang on to Butler as long as possible, shrugging off the distraction as simply part of life in the league, backfired as Butler protected his health by playing in only select games. The Wolves started 4-9, and after a winless five-game road trip, the awkwardness was too much for even Thibodeau and Layden to ignore. Butler was sent to Philadelphia in a package that brought Robert Covington and Dario Saric, two promising players who’ve fit relatively well in the rotation.The Wolves are only 15-12 since the Butler deal, though, in a Western Conference that is as stacked as ever. With Taylor’s commitment to maximum-salary contracts for both Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, there’s no more room for patience with a franchise that has had to start over so many times since Kevin Garnett led the Wolves to the Western Conference finals in 2004. The most recent setback was the death of the beloved Saunders, who served as coach and president of basketball operations in the 2014-15 season before his death from cancer. ADVERTISEMENT LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img LATEST STORIES MOST READ PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Azkals take first steps View commentslast_img read more

Knicks Losing Streak Reaches 14

first_imgNEW YORK — Just to the left of their bench was a row of fans wearing paper bags over their heads. On the court in front of them, a New York Knicks team filled with unrecognizable faces.Only thing that mattered to the Houston Rockets is how they looked.James Harden had 25 points and nine assists in just three quarters and the Rockets beat New York 120-96 on Jan. 8 to extend the Knicks’ longest single-season losing streak to 14 games.The Rockets beat New York for the 11th straight time, though everyone is beating the Knicks these days. New York has lost 24 of its last 25 games to fall to an NBA-worst 5-34.“We’re kind of looking at the bigger picture. Bigger picture is us playing at a high level, all on the same page. No matter what team we’re playing against, we’ve got to play great,” Harden said. “So tonight was a challenge for us. The Knicks aren’t doing so well but our mindset was to come in here and play Rockets basketball.”Trevor Ariza added 18 points for the Rockets, who improved to just 4-4 in their last eight. Harden didn’t reach his NBA-leading average of 26.8 points only because he was limited to 31 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter with Houston already leading by 24.Rookie Travis Wear scored a season-high 21 points and Langston Galloway had 19 for the Knicks in his second game since being called up from the NBA Development League. Rookie Cleanthony Early added a season-best 16.The Knicks’ overmatched lineup managed some neat fast breaks and dunks, entertaining a sold-out crowd that featured five fans wearing paper bags sitting right behind one of the baselines, easily noticeable during the nationally televised broadcast.Dwight Howard said he saw the fans, figuring they were just embarrassed about the game.“It’s an unfortunate situation, but only thing you can do is remember we’re all blessed to be able to play this sport, blessed to be alive and go from there,” Howard said.The Knicks couldn’t sustain their brief runs. Without the injured Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and Andrea Bargnani, they sometimes had lineups on the floor more suited to summer league than the NBA.“It’s tough mentally, but we’ve got to be professional and just keep playing and working hard,” veteran Jose Calderon said after a scoreless performance he called one of his worst games in the NBA.They were close early in the second quarter before Harden scored or assisted on all five of Houston’s baskets during a 13-2 run that pushed it to 43-30. He finished the half with a 3-pointer that made it 56-42.Howard opened the third quarter with consecutive three-point plays to push the lead to 20, and coach Derek Fisher soon turned to his youth.“Those guys that started the half gave up 12 points in three minutes. So they didn’t deserve to be still in the game and we went to the younger guys,” Fisher said.Donatas Motiejunas finished with 17 points and Howard had 13 points and 10 rebounds.(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

a month agoNuno deflated after Braga loss continues Wolves slump

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say Nuno deflated after Braga loss continues Wolves slumpby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveWolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo disappointed after Thursday’s loss to Braga at Molineux.Ricardo Horta’s effort saw the Premier League club lose in what was their first appearance in the main stage of a European competition since 1980Speaking after the game, Nuno said: “It is difficult to break down a team. We didn’t create much but the chance they had they got it. It’s a tough game. We have to keep on going.”All the goals are mistakes. If there was perfection there would be no goals. We have to remain calm and move on.”We controlled the game and managed well but one of the things we have to improve is to be patient and find a way to break down teams. Individually and as a team we have to raise our standards again.”On Sunday we have another challenge [against Crystal Palace].” last_img read more