Wu Yibing ready to get back in the fast lane | ATP Circuit

Former World Junior No. 1 Wu Yibing reached a career-high of No. 174 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this week behind his second consecutive ATP Challenger Tour title. However the 22-year-old Chinese language has his sights set on the High 100, with one eye on one quantity specifically.

โ€œThe best-ranked Chinese language participant in historical past is No. 136,โ€ he mentioned in an unique interview with ATPTour.com, alluding to Zhang Zhizhen. โ€œI feel I’ve an excellent probability of breaking it this 12 months. I will belief myself and maintain myself to a excessive normal.”

It is an formidable aim for the six-footer, who performed solely on a home circuit in China in 2020-21 after recovering from elbow surgical procedure. However Wu is already China’s No. 1, having overtaken Zhang earlier this month. In 2020, Wu had a chunk of bone faraway from his elbow. (โ€œSounds scary, however I did it,โ€ he says.)

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Wu and Zhang, 25, are each within the High 200, with the 17-year-old shang juncheng and 20 years Yunchaokete Bu representing China throughout the High 400.

However Wu’s current type on the Challenger Tour has turned the highlight on him.

He returned to ITF stage in January, however badly sprained his ankle in his first match in Cancun, an harm he likened to Alexander ZverevThe stunning incident of Roland Garros. Wu gained her subsequent occasion, an ITF occasion in April in Florida, and has since gained three Challenger titles in the US, together with back-to-back trophy runs this month in Rome, Georgia and Indianapolis.

His 4 profession Challenger titles make him essentially the most embellished Chinese language participant in tour historical past.

In his win at Indianapolis, he saved six match factors to defeat the American aleksandar kovacevic 6-7(10), 7-6(13) 6-3 in an epic closing. He additionally had a pair of High 100 wins this season, beating Aussie jordan thompson and from Germany Peter Gojowczyk.

โ€œThese video games gave me a variety of confidence, particularly the sport in opposition to jordan thompson,โ€ Wu mentioned of their 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 victory in Zagreb. โ€œParticularly being down a set and struggling within the second set and combating by way of it. He gave me confidence that he might compete with the highest 100 gamers.โ€

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After proving himself in opposition to worldwide opposition, Wu seems like a extra mature participant than he was earlier than his elbow harm. He’s nonetheless as aggressive as ever, however he’s not dashing in his makes an attempt to construct energy.

Whereas pleased together with his sport general, significantly his improved return, Wu highlights his first serve share and web expertise as areas for enchancment.

“On the whole, we Chinese language gamers are working rather a lot on the baseline,” he defined. โ€œWe’re lacking some pictures like slices, like volleys. So that is one thing that I’m lacking from my junior observe time, which I hope to enhance.โ€

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

“I feel mentally I am able to recover from no matter accidents I could discover within the close to future,” he mentioned. โ€œMy physique is just not sturdy sufficient like different gamers, so I’m able to push myself more durable within the health club and within the stretching room. . One of many vital classes I’ve to study is stop accidents. I have been speaking to my physio rather a lot currently about this.”

Fortuitously, he has a staff to assist information him, a rarity for gamers on the Challenger stage.

โ€œI’m fortunate to be Chinese language. I get a variety of help from my federation and likewise from my company,โ€ he defined. โ€œThey’re serving to me discover these nice coaches and bodily therapists and health trainers. They’re doing an incredible job thus far this 12 months.

โ€œI am not going to take all of the credit score myself. Tennis is a solitary sport. I haven’t got many pals on Tour, I missed a number of years of those tournaments. My coaches and my physio, they should preserve me awake, preserve me eager to play video games and preserve me match. All these little issues make a staff.โ€

Wu Yibing
Wu on the ATP Challenger Tour occasion in Indianapolis. Picture Credit score: Larry Lawrence

Wu’s standing as one in every of China’s high tennis prospects has additionally given him the chance to fulfill worldwide sports activities superstars corresponding to golf nice Tiger Woods and basketball legend Yao Ming, whom he referred to 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 loved a pleasant facet profit from his time in the US earlier this season in the course of the playoffs. Because of the time distinction, the video games are on TV within the morning in China, which conflicts with Wu’s observe schedule. Within the US, he was capable of watch the playoffs in prime time.

โ€œRight here I can chill out after an extended day of observe,โ€ mentioned Wu, who calls Kevin Durant his favourite participant. “I can simply chill out on my mattress and watch some nice video games.”

Music is Wu’s different ardour off the courtroom, and he credit newly launched songs by Taiwanese artist Jay Chou for propelling him to his current success.

โ€œI will give him some credit score for successful these tournaments, listening to his music,โ€ Wu mentioned with a smile.

A celeb in her personal proper, Wu additionally enjoys stay streaming on Chinese language social media and talking immediately along with her followers.

“I am doing it as a result of I’ve some free time and I wish to speak to somebody,” she shared. โ€œAs an alternative of enjoying video video games, I select to do the stay broadcast and work together with all of the Chinese language followers. Maybe some younger gamers might be impressed by it.

“Interacting with the followers brings some gentle to my life on Tour. I assume gaining some supporters isn’t a nasty factor.”

As he units his sights on the ATP Tour, Wu also can draw from the expertise of assembly and competing with lots of the high gamers within the sport. He was a batting accomplice in 2017 Nitto ATP Finalsand left Kei Nishikori as wild card in 2018 Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Because of his fast stand up the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Wu has booked himself a return to the large stage in August, when he’ll make his senior Grand Slam rankings debut on the US Open – the positioning of his junior singles triumph in 2017.

“I really imagined it many occasions in my head,” Wu mentioned of her return to the USTA Billie Jean King Nationwide Tennis Middle. “Take some images there and see in the event that they put my title on the wall… the issues {that a} regular individual would assume.

“However I do not wish to assume an excessive amount of about emotional issues, as a result of I will New York to play tennis, to not be nostalgic for the great previous days. I hope I can flip this emotion into constructive vitality to be helpful for my matches.

“Will probably be a really particular feeling to be again. I completed my youth profession on the US Open and now my skilled profession might begin a brand new chapter there. It seems like future in a method. However I do know I nonetheless have to focus and produce out the very best tennis on the courtroom.”

– with reporting help from Michael Chen

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