Li links up with Henin’s former coach
Originally published on: 21/08/12 00:00
Li and Rodriguez worked together for the first time in Cincinnati last week and the association brought an immediate reward as the 30-year-old Chinese won her first title for 14 months, beating Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the final.
Rodriguez was approached by Li’s agent immediately after this summer’s Olympics. A deal was reached for him to work initially with her until the end of the year. The player and coach were then in regular contact by email and telephone before Rodriguez met her in person for the first time in Cincinnati last week. He will also be with her at the US Open and tournaments in Tokyo and Beijing.
“I knew he had done a very good job before, so that’s why I trust him a lot already,” Li said. “I think we started well. I feel comfortable working with him, more relaxed, not stressful.”
Rodriguez enjoyed huge success during his 12 years as Henin’s coach, but when the Belgian retired he said he could not imagine working with another player. However, the opportunity to work with Li came about after the Argentinian coach moved to Beijing two years ago to run a tennis academy in the Chinese capital.
“I live in China with my family,” Rodriguez told ‘USA Today’. “Before, I didn't have the time to do this, to concentrate on her. I was busy moving there and taking care of the family, because it's a big change. But now her agent asked me if I'm available and happy to do this. I said we can try until the end of the year and see if she likes my way of working. I am ready to help her, because I believe that she can do a very good job on court.”