US Open starlet Wu aims to inspire China

SHANGHAI: China’s great new tennis hope Wu Yibing, who made history by winning the US Open boys title this month, says he hopes to inspire a generation of Chinese players.
China may have almost 1.4 billion people but it has only ever produced one Grand Slam singles champion in Li Na, who lifted the women’s French and Australian Open crowns in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
The hugely popular Li has since retired and China is crying out for a successor in either the men’s or women’s game.
Step forward Wu, a 17-year-old who became China’s first boys Grand Slam singles champion when he triumphed in New York.
To prove it was no fluke, Wu also won the US Open boys doubles and then marked a new milestone on Sunday in Shanghai when he snared his first ATP Challenger Tour title without dropping a set.
Wu, who styles his game on former world number one Andy Murray, surged to a career-high 320 in the world rankings and he hopes there will be
more tennis prospects emerging soon in China, where the sport is gaining popularity.
“I actually thought about this the other day. I hope with my good performance, I will show the right path for young Chinese players how to turn pro,” he said following his victory on Sunday in Shanghai.
“Hopefully they will have more parents encourage kids to pick up racquets and try to become a professional tennis player.”
Wu, who is from the eastern city of Hangzhou and turns 18 next month, trains in China for Asian events and in Spain for European ones.
He will make his ATP World Tour debut next week at the Chengdu Open.
Wu wants to finish the year inside the top 300 in the world, but says he is happy to bide his time.
“I don’t want to rush into anything just because I played well this week. Step by step,” he said. — AFP