Li Na has hired Carlos Rodriguez as her new coach on a trial basis, TENNIS.com has learned. The two will begin to work together on August 16 and will do so for the rest of this season. Rodriguez is the former coach of seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin.
Li, the 2011 Roland Garros champion, has had a sporadic season, falling in the fourth round of the Australian Open and Roland Garros, the second round of Wimbledon, and the first round of the Olympics. The world No. 11 has reached two finals—Sydney and Rome—but did not win either title. Her husband, Jiang Shan, has coached her for most of her career. Last year, Denmark’s Michael Mortensen also coached her, but even though he led Li to the French Open crown, their relationship was short-lived.
Rodriguez owns a tennis academy in China and recently met with Li to discus their partnership. He believes that he can motivate the 30-year-old to play well again and will travel full time with her.—Matt Cronin