Don`t burden me with all your hopes: Li Na
London: China`s Li Na was blown out of Wimbledon by German whirlwind Sabine Lisicki on Thursday and then warned her demanding nation that it must start lifting the burden of expectation off her shoulders.
Li, who made history when she became the first Asian winner of a Grand Slam singles title at the French Open three weeks ago, believes it is time for other players, especially the men, to learn from her example.
China has four women in the top 100 but the highest-ranked man is Bai Yan at a modest 348 in the world.
Li insists she knows the reason why her male counterparts are a group of serial under-achievers.
"Lazy," was her damning assessment. "The women are doing a good job. But I wish one day the men can grow up also."
The 29-year-old world number four added that she is optimistic that young girls will follow in her footsteps, but that they should develop their own style.
"Everyone is different. I don`t want them to copy from me. I would like to say I believe that someday they can do even better than me, so they don`t need to copy me."
Li made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2006 and was seeded three this year.
She seemed set fair for the third round before the 21-year-old wildcard Lisicki rallied to save two match points in the ninth game of the deciding set on her way to a 3-6, 6-4, 8-6 win under the Centre Court roof.
The German clinched victory on her third match point in the 14th game of a pulsating deciding set.
It was the German`s booming serve that proved crucial as she fired 17 aces and powered down 21 winners.
"From the first point until the end of the match, every serve was like 117mph. It`s impossible for women," said Li, whose two match points were swept away by two blistering Lisicki serves that smashed the 120mph barrier.
"I had two match points but I couldn`t do anything about them."
The 21-year-old Lisicki, whose career suffered a huge setback in 2010 when a serious left ankle injury sidelined her for four months, will tackle Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi for a place in the last 16.
"I have always had a powerful serve. I think it`s one of the best in women`s tennis," added Lisicki of her most potent weapon.
"But you have to use it smartly. My game suits grass and a good serve is important."
Lisicki had won the Birmingham grasscourt event in the run-up to Wimbledon and was always going to be a dangerous opponent at the All England Club.
She wept after her win on Thursday as she gave vent to all the frustrations caused by her crippling injury.
"It`s been such a long, hard road to come back from my injury. I really had to start from zero," said the player, who was a quarter-finalist here in 2009.
"It`s been terrible. I really had no muscles in my left calf after seven weeks on crutches. So I had to start to learn how to walk again."