Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Smashing Talent

(photo: Xinhua)

Do you know who Zheng Jie is?

She's the one to watch at Wimbledon this year.

Last Friday she toppled World No. 1 seed Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-4, and yesterday beat No. 15 seed Agnes Szavay 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals. She is the second Chinese to reach the final eight, after Li Na did it two years ago.

The 24-year-old Zheng is stunned by her win because she missed most of last year due to an ankle injury.

"I'm so happy because last year I injured my ankle and missed Wimbledon," she explains. "I've been back for just half a year and I can play like this. I'm very surprised," she said.

"It's great because before I didn't think I could win in two sets, maybe three close sets.

"I felt it would be a tough match because she has the big serve and big forehand. But on the court I just try keep going.

"I just try to tell myself she's the better player, so I need 100 percent for every point."

Zheng was ranked 133rd in the world and before Wimbledon and was playing as a wild card. She certainly took her chances and has probably leapfrogged a few top players with the hard-earned win.

What's interesting about her tennis experience is that she never played on a grass court when she was a child.

"In China there are no grass courts, but every time I play the grass court I feel it is a perfect one for me. I hope I can go far and win more matches here," she said.

Zheng credits her husband who is also her coach for helping her train mentally and physically.

While people in China are hoping for a medal in tennis at the Olympics, the singles and doubles player still thinks about her home province of Sichuan and has donated her French Open winnings to the quake relief efforts.

Regardless of her chances at Wimbledon, she's taking it all in stride. And all of us here are cheering for her. It sounds like she's relishing her moment on the grass. And that's what tennis is all about.

1 comment:

ks said...

yes the chinese is making a name in world tennis now. mind you no men's yet. wait for few more years when golf becomes popularised. too bad there is little interest in table tennis or badminton in the western world.