World No.6 Li Na won Sydney and reached the final of the Australian Open in the beginning of the year, but then four straight losses followed, all the way to the Stuttgart tournament in the second half of April where she defeated Anastasija Sevastova before losing to Sabine Lisicki in the following round. The 29-year-old Li decided to make changes in her training and replaced her husband Jiang Shan’s coaching by Denmark Fed Cup captain Michael Mortensen.
Results of Li’s cooperation with Mortensen are already here – Li reached the semifinals of the $4.5 million Mutua Madrid Open last week (she lost to eventual champion Petra Kvitova).
Here’s how the China’s first singles Grand Slam finalist commented on the partnership to Reuters:
My confidence was low and I felt I had to change my coach […] I’m not a young player so I know my body and what I can do on the court. We are focusing more on the mental side as I feel I need someone to support me.
At the ongoing tournament in Rome, Li is seeded fourth and after a bye in the first round she will play world No.46 Lourdes Dominguez Lino.