MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Li Na is known for her cheeky banter and light-hearted humor with the English-language media.
Her relationship with certain members of the Chinese media, though, is slightly more contentious — and last year may have contributed to her contemplating retirement.
On the eve of this year's Australian Open, the 31-year-old Chinese star revealed to Melbourne's The Age newspaper that she told her coach, Carlos Rodriguez, at Wimbledon last year that she wanted to retire following a disappointing second-round loss at the French Open and a tough defeat at a Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Eastbourne.
Li explained Wednesday after her second-round win at Melbourne Park that the reason had less to do with her tennis, however, and more to do with "so many things off the court."
Like celebrities everywhere, she was feeling down because of things written by critics.
She said they gave her a "very tough time" when she played the French Open, and it continued to Wimbledon.
After her surprising loss to 67th-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands at Roland Garros, Li was asked if she had any explanation for the defeat for her fans back home.
She snapped back at the time: "Do I need to explain? It's strange. I lost a game and that's it. Do I need to get on my knees and kowtow to them? Apologize to them?"
The French Open was the scene of Li's first — and so far only — Grand Slam title in 2011, which catapulted her to super-stardom in China — and ramped up scrutiny of her, as well.