Wu Yiping is ready to return to Fastlane | ATP . round

Former junior world primary Wu Yiping reached a profession excessive of 174 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this week behind his second consecutive ATP Challenger Tour title. However the 22-year-old Chinese language participant units his sights on the highest 100 record, specializing in a sure quantity.

“The very best-rated Chinese language participant of all time is quantity 136,” he stated in an unique interview with ATPTour.com, referring to Zhang Zhizhen. “I believe I’ve probability of breaking it this yr. I shall be assured in myself and have a excessive stage.”

It’s an formidable goal for the six-footed participant, who performed completely on a home circuit in China in 2020-21 after recovering from elbow surgical procedure. However Wu is already No. 1 in China, having handed Zhang earlier this month. In 2020, a chunk of bone was faraway from Wu’s elbow. (“It sounds terrifying, however I did it,” he says.)

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25-year-old Wu and Zhang are each within the prime 200, with 17-year-old Shang Junsheng and 20-year-old Yun Chuquit Bo representing China throughout the prime 400.

However Wu’s ultimate type on the Problem Tour has highlighted his path.

He returned to the ITF stage in January however severely sprained his ankle in his first match in Cancun, an damage he likened to Alexander Zverev’s horrific accident at Roland Garros. Wu gained his subsequent occasion, an ITF occasion in April in Florida, and has since gained three Challenger titles in the USA, together with back-to-back Cups this month in Rome, Georgia and Indianapolis.

His 4 titles within the Problem made him essentially the most embellished Chinese language participant in monitor historical past.

In his victory in Indianapolis, he saved six recreation factors to defeat American Aleksandar Kovacevich 6-7 (10), 7-6 (13) 6-3 in an epic ultimate. He additionally gained a pair of High 100 wins this season, beating Australian Jordan Thompson and Germany’s Peter Jojowczyk.

“These matches gave me plenty of confidence, particularly the match in opposition to Jordan Thompson,” Wu stated of his 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory in Zagreb. “Particularly as a result of he fell in a bunch and struggled within the second and was preventing by means of it. It gave me confidence that I may compete with the highest 100 gamers.”

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After testing himself in opposition to worldwide opposition, Wu appears like a extra mature participant than he was earlier than his elbow damage. He is nonetheless as aggressive as ever, however he now not finds himself in a rush in his makes an attempt to generate energy.

Whereas he is completely satisfied together with his recreation generally, particularly his boosted comeback, Wu is relying on his first serve ratio and internet abilities as areas for enchancment.

“Basically, the Chinese language gamers, we work quite a bit on the idea,” he defined. “We miss some pictures like chopping, like aerial volleys. In order that’s one thing that I miss from my childhood in coaching, which I’m seeking to enhance.”

Wu can also be keen to enhance his health with a view to compete on the ATP Tour.

He stated, “I believe mentally I’m prepared to beat all of the accidents that I could face within the close to future. My physique will not be robust sufficient like different guys, so I’m able to put in additional effort within the health club and the stretching room.. One vital lesson I’ve to be taught is Tips on how to stop an infection. I’ve talked to my physician quite a bit recently about this.”

Thankfully, he has a group to assist information him – a rarity for gamers who’re as much as the problem.

“I’m fortunate to be Chinese language. I get plenty of help from my federation and from my company as nicely.” “They’re serving to me discover these nice trainers and health and health trainers. They’re doing an amazing job up to now this yr.

“I am not going to take all of the credit score for myself. Tennis is one sport. I haven’t got plenty of buddies on the tour – I missed a number of years of those tournaments. My coach and my physiatrist, they must maintain me awake, make me hungry to play matches and keep match. All these little issues are made group”.

Wu Yiping
Wu on the ATP Tour occasion in Indianapolis. Picture supply: Larry Lawrence

Wu’s standing as considered one of China’s prime tennis prospects has additionally given him the prospect to fulfill worldwide sports activities stars equivalent to the good golfer Tiger Woods and basketball legend Yao Ming, who he known as the “Nice Wall of China”. He additionally met Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons when the Philadelphia 76ers visited Shanghai in 2018.

An enormous NBA fan, Wu is having fun with good facet advantages from his time in the USA earlier this season through the playoffs. Due to the time distinction, video games are proven on TV within the morning in China, which is opposite to Wu’s coaching schedule. Within the US, he was capable of watch the playoffs in prime time.

“Right here, I can calm down after a protracted day of coaching,” stated Wu, who known as Kevin Durant his favourite participant. “I can simply calm down on my mattress and watch some nice video games.”

Music is Wu’s different ardour off the courtroom, and he has credited Taiwanese artist Jay Chou’s newly launched songs for spurring his success just lately.

“I will give him just a little credit score for profitable these tournaments, and listening to his music,” Wu stated with fun.

A star in his personal proper, Wu additionally enjoys livestreaming on Chinese language social media and speaking on to his followers.

He stated, “I do it as a result of I’ve some free time and I need to discuss to somebody.” As an alternative of enjoying video video games, I select to stream and work together with all of the Chinese language followers. Possibly some youthful gamers will take inspiration from it.

“Interacting with followers brings some gentle to my life on tour. I believe gaining some supporters will not be a nasty factor in any respect.”

As he units his sights on the ATP tour, Wu may profit from the expertise of assembly and competing with most of the recreation’s prime gamers. He was a powerhouse accomplice within the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, and earned Kei Nishikori as a wild card within the 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters.

Along with his fast rise within the Pepperstone ATP rankings, Wu booked himself a return to the massive stage in August, the place he’ll make his first Grand Slam qualifier on the US Open – the positioning of his 2017 junior singles victory.

Wu stated of his return to the USTA Billie Jean King Nationwide Tennis Heart: “I pictured it quite a bit in my head. Took some photos there, to test in the event that they put my identify on the wall…all of the issues a traditional individual would suppose.”

“However I do not need to overthink emotional issues, as a result of I’ll New York to play tennis, and I do not really feel nostalgic for the great outdated days. I hope I can flip these emotions into some constructive vitality that shall be helpful for my matches.

“It is going to be a really particular feeling to be again. I completed my profession on the US Open and now my skilled profession might begin a brand new chapter there. I really feel like destiny one way or the other. However I do know I nonetheless must focus and produce out the most effective tennis on the courtroom.”

– With the assistance of reporting from Michael Chen