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

Former Junior World No. 1 Wu Yiping He reached a career high of 174 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this week behind his second consecutive ATP Challenger Tour title. But the 22-year-old Chinese player sets his sights on the top 100 list, focusing on a certain number.

“The highest-rated Chinese player of all time is number 136,” he said in an exclusive interview with ATPTour.com, referring to the Zhang Zixin. “I think I have a good chance of breaking it this year. I will be confident in myself and have a high level.”

It is an ambitious target for the six-footed player, who played exclusively on a domestic circuit in China in 2020-21 after recovering from elbow surgery. But Wu is already No. 1 in China, having passed Zhang earlier this month. In 2020, a piece of bone was removed from Wu’s elbow. (“It sounds terrifying, but I did it,” he says.)

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25-year-old Wu and Zhang are both in the top 200, and they are 17 years old Shang Junsheng and 20 years Yunchaokete Bu Representation of China within the top 400.

But Wu’s final form on the Challenge Tour has highlighted his path.

He returned to the ITF level in January but severely twisted his ankle in his first tournament in Cancun, an injury he likened to it. Alexander Zverevhorrific accident in Roland Garros. Wu won his next event, an ITF event in April in Florida, and has since won three Challenger titles in the United States, including back-to-back Cups this month in Rome, Georgia and Indianapolis.

His four titles in the Challenge make him the most decorated Chinese player in track history.

In his victory in Indianapolis, he saved six game points to defeat America Alexander Kovashevich 6-7 (10), 7-6 (13) 6-3 in an epic final. He also earned a pair of Top 100 wins this season, beating the Australian Dollar Jordan Thompson and Germany Peter Gojowczyk.

“Those matches gave me a lot of confidence, especially in the match against Jordan ThompsonWu said of his 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 victory in Zagreb. “Especially because he fell in a group and struggled in the second and was fighting through it. It gave me confidence that I could compete with the top 100 players.”

You might also like: Wu Saves 6 Tournament Points to Take the Indy Challenger Title

After testing himself against international opposition, Wu feels like a more mature player than he was before his elbow injury. He’s still as aggressive as ever, but he no longer finds himself in a hurry in his attempts to generate power.

While he’s happy with his game in general, especially his boosted comeback, Wu is counting on his first serve ratio and net skills as areas for improvement.

“In general, the Chinese players, we work a lot on the basis,” he explained. “We miss some shots like chopping, like aerial volleys. So that’s something that I miss from my childhood in training, which I am looking to improve.”

Wu is also eager to improve his fitness in order to compete on the ATP Tour.

He said, “I think mentally I am ready to overcome all the injuries that I may face in the near future. My body is not strong enough like other guys, so I am ready to put in more effort in the gym and the stretching room.. One important lesson I have to learn is How to prevent infection. I’ve talked to my doctor a lot lately about this.”

Fortunately, he has a team to help guide him – a rarity for players who are up to the challenge.

“I am lucky to be Chinese. I get a lot of support from my federation and from my agency as well.” “They are helping me find these great trainers and fitness and fitness trainers. They are doing a great job so far this year.

“I’m not going to take all the credit for myself. Tennis is one sport. I don’t have a lot of friends on the tour – I missed a few years of these tournaments. My coach and my physiatrist, they have to keep me awake, make me hungry to play matches and stay fit. All these little things are made team”.

Wu Yiping
Wu at the ATP Tour event in Indianapolis. Image source: Larry Lawrence

Wu’s status as one of China’s top tennis prospects has also given him the chance to meet international sports stars such as the great golfer Tiger Woods and basketball legend Yao Ming, who he called the “Great Wall of China”. He also met Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons when the Philadelphia 76ers visited Shanghai in 2018.

A huge NBA fan, Wu is enjoying nice side benefits from his time in the United States earlier this season during the playoffs. Because of the time difference, the games are shown on TV in the morning in China, which goes against Wu’s practice schedule. In the US, he was able to watch the playoffs in prime time.

“Here, I can relax after a long day of training,” said Wu, who called Kevin Durant his favorite player. “I can just relax on my bed and watch some great games.”

Music is Wu’s other passion off the field, and he has credited Taiwanese artist Jay Chou’s newly released songs for urging him to his recent success.

I’ll give him a little credit for winning these championships, and listening to his music,” Wu said with a laugh.

A celebrity in his own right, Wu also enjoys livestreaming on Chinese social media and talking directly to his fans.

He said, “I do it because I have some free time and I want to talk to someone.” Instead of playing video games, I choose to stream and interact with all the Chinese fans. Maybe some younger players will take inspiration from it.

“Interacting with the fans brings some light to my life on tour. I think gaining some supporters is not a bad thing at all.”

As he sets his sights on the ATP tour, Wu can also benefit from the experience of meeting and competing with many of the game’s top players. He was a successful partner in 2017 Nitto ATP Finalsand take a clearing Ki Nishikori As a wild card in 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters.

With his rapid rise in the Pepperstone ATP rankings, Wu booked himself a return to the big stage in August, where he will make his first Grand Slam qualifier debut in US Open – Junior Singles Victory Site 2017.

Wu said of his return to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center: “I pictured it a lot in my head. Took some pictures there, to check if they put my name on the wall…all the things a normal person would think.”

“But I don’t want to overthink emotional things, because I’m going to New York to play tennis, and I don’t feel nostalgic for the good old days. I hope I can turn those feelings into some positive energy that will be useful for my matches.

“It will be a very special feeling to be back. I finished my football career in US Open And now my career may start a new chapter there. It feels like destiny in a way. But I know I still need to focus and bring out the best tennis on the court.”

– With reporting assistance from Michael Chen

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