Tennis: Female stars now thrive past 30
NEW YORK (LAT-WP) - With her results increasingly erratic and her world-ranking slipping in the 14 months following her 2011 French Open triumph, Chinese tennis star Li Na fired her husband as her coach and sought out someone to push her harder.
After Day One of the gruelling six-hour fitness regimen installed by Carlos Rodriguez, she was excited, confident results would follow.
After Day Three, she recalled earlier this year, "I was dying!" Li phoned her husband and told him Rodriguez was "crazy" to demand as many hours sweating in the gym as practising on court. She even contemplated retiring.
But today, a full year into the regimen, the 31-year-old boasts greater strength and stamina, as well as a more potent serve and aggressive tactics. On Friday, she will face a fellow 31-year-old, top-ranked Serena Williams, in the semi-finals of the US Open.