Tennis

Nishikori’s rise has given Asians belief: Lu

Yen- Hsun - Lu.   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

: If at all Indian players need any inspiration for excelling in professional tennis, they need look no further than Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei, one of the top-ranked Asian players in the world (38) and seeded sixth in the Aircel Chennai Open.

Every time an injury threatened to derail his career, the 31-year-old has emerged stronger. He has suffered injuries to most parts of his body over the last 10 years, but has never blamed the system or any individual for his woes.

Once Dirk Hordoff, one of the world’s famous coach-managers, took Lu under his wings, the latter’s career took flight.

Commenting on his stream of injuries, Hordoff in an interview to the ATP website in 2009, said: “His injuries cost him a lot of time. One reason was the lack of knowledge on how to build up his body in his junior times. After understanding what to do and how to work, he is now fit and healthy and able to compete at the highest standard.”

While Lu has scalped several top-class players in his career in Grand Slams and Tour events, it was in 2014 that he reached his maiden ATP final. Upsetting David Ferrer in the semifinals, Lu was beaten by John Isner in the summit clash.

“I have a few wins over the top 10 players. All are good memories. It is very tough to pick one. It could be the victories over (Tomas) Berdych in the Cincinnati Masters this year and the win over (David) Ferrer. But beating (Andy) Roddick in the fourth round of the Wimbledon in 2010 will count as one of the biggest moments of my career,” he said.

According to Lu, there are more Challengers now in India than when he first played in 2008 in New Delhi.

“Things are changing. Now, three to five Challengers are held in India. When I was playing there were hardly one or two,” he said.

He is clear that that there needs to be more Futures and Challengers for Asians to reach the top. Playing regularly in Europe was a tough proposition for most Asians, he said.

Lu believes Japan’s Kei Nishikori’s rise to fifth in the world has given a big boost to Asian players.

“Kei has motivated Asians and has given them more belief to trust in their abilities. The other players, who are now in the top 100, can believe that they can break in to the top 20,” he said.

Elaborating on how Asian tennis can improve, Lu made a pertinent point. “If you talk of Asian players, you should also ask why there are no Americans in the top 10 now. Every country has its own problems. Asia has to solve its own problems. Every country has different cultures, different systems. If you can fix them the right way you can produce champions,” he said.


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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 3:57:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/aircel-chennai-open-2015-nishikoris-rise-has-given-asians-belief-says-lu/article6764677.ece

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