© Ella Ling

Li Na - Ella Ling

Li Na: How to cope with being married to your coach


How to cope with being married to your coach

Recognise that people change after they get married
“My husband has changed since we got married and so have I. Before we were married, I would say to him, ‘I’m going shopping’ and he would say, ‘Okay, fine’. Now, I say that I’m going shopping and he says. ‘Why are you always going shopping?'”

Understand that it’s not always going to be easy
“It can be tough. It’s like, ‘wife, husband, player, coach’. Sometimes if I’m working hard on the court, I want to have a five-minute break and he says, ‘No, we should keep going’. I say: ‘You’re my husband, why don’t you listen to me?’ On the tennis court, I should listen to him. We’ve had arguments, a little bit of fighting. I only have to listen to him on the court, nowhere else.”

Keep a sense of humour.
“He didn’t say anything about my jokes in Melbourne at last year’s Australian Open when I told everyone about his snoring. But now he’s probably more famous than me. After Melbourne, we were on the plane in Hong Kong, and a stewardess said to me, ‘Hey, that guy is Li Na’s husband’. I said to her: ‘Yeah, yeah, he looks like him, so many people say that’. After about half an hour, the stewardess came back to me and said: ‘Oh, I’m really sorry, I didn’t realise you are Li Na’. Now when we walk down the street, people seem to recognise him before they recognise me.”

Think carefully about the financial arrangements
“I pay a salary to my husband. But I don’t have a contract with him. And any money he earns, I will spend anyway. He doesn’t ask me for a pay rise. No, he never says that. If he says that, I will kick him out.”