Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen have been sitting within the US Open gamers’ eating room throughout a rain delay on Friday, one of many largest days of each their careers. Wu, the 2017 US Open boys’ singles champion, had simply certified for the principle draw for the season’s ultimate main on his first try. Zhang was ready to return to the courtroom to aim to do the identical.
But as a substitute of stressing the magnitude of the second, the shut pals had a cellphone on the desk to stream an ATP Challenger Tour match between Shang Juncheng, a 17-year-old Chinese language phenom, and Australian veteran Jordan Thompson. Shang would win the match and later superior to the ultimate of the match.
Wu, Zhang and Shang make up the way forward for males’s tennis in China. That future is wanting vibrant.
When the rain delay ended, Zhang walked out to Court docket 7, confidently accomplished his victory to earn his place within the discipline and held his arms out in celebration. Within the stands was Wu, who replicated the celebration.
“I’m very comfortable that we each certified as a result of it’s fairly powerful,” Zhang mentioned. “I do know he had some accidents.”
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Wu, who was the world’s No. 1 junior, was invited to Monaco through the 2017 offseason to coach with a number of the world’s greatest gamers. However he didn’t instantly make his mark on the ATP Tour. The Chinese language star reached what was then a career-high of No. 298 in April 2019.
Nevertheless, he didn’t compete from March 2019 till January 2022 as a result of a number of accidents, together with points together with his elbow, decrease again, shoulder and wrist, with elbow surgical procedure being probably the most severe of the bunch. Wu refused to make use of the accidents as an excuse, although.
“I don’t actually like to speak about these accidents in too [much] element as a result of each participant has accidents. I’m certain numerous gamers play tournaments with some components of the physique hurting. I’m not the one one,” Wu mentioned. “Additionally the psychological energy that it’s important to undergo the ache is a part of the sport.”
This 12 months, nonetheless, Wu and Zhang have each confirmed what they’re able to. Wu has climbed from World No. 1,869 in March to No. 174, his career-high. Zhang, who grew to become the top-ranked Chinese language participant in Pepperstone ATP Rankings historical past (World No. 136) in February 2020, is only one spot off that mark.
“I feel we’ve an excellent competitors between me and him and in addition we’re excellent pals. For me, I’ll cheer for him. We’re each pushing Chinese language males’s tennis ranges and we’re nonetheless younger. We now have numerous time to do it. I feel we’re going to get to the Prime 100,” Wu mentioned. “[It will] not [be] straightforward, however I feel it ought to be carried out, even a very long time in the past.
“I really like how [Zhang] performs. He’s a giant server and he’s aggressive on the courtroom. He likes to put strain on opponents. I really like how he performs. We’re good pals, we cheer for one another. I feel we are able to make some historical past proper right here.”
Wu & Zhang Make Chinese language Historical past, Qualify For US Open
The pair already has. On Monday, they may grow to be the primary Chinese language males within the Open Period to compete in the principle draw of the US Open.
“For him it’s straightforward as a result of he received the juniors right here. [For] 5 years he didn’t lose a match on the US Open!” Zhang mentioned, cracking amusing. “For me, I used to be shocked I handed the qualies as a result of it’s my first time right here after all. I used to be taking part in fairly good on clay courts after grass. I didn’t anticipate that I can move right here.”
Wu is aware of what it takes to make a deep run at Flushing Meadows. However he’s not wanting too far forward. As a substitute, he’s focussed on taking within the second. After lacking practically three years, he is aware of to understand the chance.
“I simply need to benefit from the occasion, get pleasure from taking part in tennis,” Wu mentioned. “I feel that’s my largest change between me now and some years in the past. I get pleasure from tennis extra and I actually like to play in entrance of individuals. Simply to be comfortable.”
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