Li Na’s happy breakup

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Updated: August 28, 2012

Li Na’s run of good play after the Olympics has come after an interesting change: She fired her husband as her coach. Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times tells the story:

“I mean, after I got new coach, I think for both me and my husband I think much, much easier,” Li said. “Love is love; coach is coach. You have to separate. You know, I mean, after I change the coach, I didn’t say my husband didn’t do a good job. I think he’s still doing good job. But for both sometimes it’s too much, you know. Like it’s really tough to find a balance between coaching and husband.”

Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News checks in with Venus Williams, who continues to battle age and Sjogren’s syndrome:

Serena Williams walked off the practice court first on Monday morning, and she wasn’t particularly happy with her hitting session.??“Not high marks,” she said. “But I’m so hard on myself, you know that.” Venus continued practicing on the adjacent court, kept calibrating and grooving returns for another 30 minutes. She was out there a full two hours before packing her rackets and trudging off to sign autographs, then to work out some more at a gym. ?“No one came to get my court,” Venus said, “so I just kept hitting.”?? She keeps hitting, like her sister. They keep playing these majors, into their 30s now, and without them frankly there isn’t much to talk or write about anymore in Flushing.

Melanie Oudin has seen only momentary flashes since her memorable U.S. Open run in 2009. David Dusek of SI.com reports on Oudin’s short stay in 2012 after a first round loss to Lucie Safarova:

Early success in sports can be a blessing and curse. Appearing on talk shows, cashing in on endorsement offers and qualifying for lucrative events are the good part. Meeting everyone’s increased expectations — including your own — is the tough part. ”It’s definitely hard sometimes when I’m playing and everyone is cheering my name,” Oudin said. “In a way I know it’s supposed to be the best thing and really helpful because everyone supports you but sometimes, in a way, I feel like it’s not. I almost feel like I put more pressure on myself when people cheer for me.”

The career retrospectives continue for Kim Clijsters, who won her first round match against Victoria Duval. Jane McManus writes on ESPN.com:

In 2008, Clijsters became a mother. It is a milestone that traditionally heralds the end of a tennis player’s career, and it certainly took Clijsters out of the game. The exit path was well-worn, but Clijsters didn’t take it to its end. Instead, she announced her return to tennis in March 2009 and, in her third tournament back, won the U.S. Open. It was a small and revolutionary act. There are women the world over who engage in the same dance, and wonder if somehow they give up being truly excellent at one thing in order to be pretty good at several. And here was Clijsters, who literally held her U.S. Open Trophy in victory as her beaming daughter rushed to bask in the moment with her mother. To see her interact with Jada on Ashe that night was to see a woman who had managed to be excellent at both simultaneously.

The New York Times’ Peter Latman offers a fascinating look into the relationship between Maria Sharapova and her agent Max Eisenbud.

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