Born in Hangzhou, Wu Yibing, 22, was introduced to tennis when he was a boy because his parents were worried he was overweight. They initially wanted him to try badminton but the net was too high and he could not hit the shuttlecock over it. So they settled on tennis, where the nets are lower.
By the time he entered primary school, Wu was already training part-time. And by the time he reached 16, he was competing internationally.
When did he first make headlines?
Wu came to wider attention when he won the US Open junior tournament in 2017, in both singles and doubles. His performances earned him a spot at the IMG Academy in Florida, one of the world’s most prestigious sports institutions. While he was there he worked on his game and learned English. But by 2019 his career path had slowed because of consistent injuries. That August, he underwent surgery on his right elbow.
Why is he in the news now?
Currently ranked 174, Wu made tennis history last Wednesday by becoming the first Chinese man to reach the third round of the US Open. Even though he lost the match to Daniil Medvedev of Russia, fans at home in China are hopeful that Wu could one day win major titles like the retired female tennis player Li Na, who won two Grand Slams in her career.
“This amazing journey gives me more confidence to forge ahead. It is a valuable opportunity to learn from world-leading tennis players. I will keep practicing and improving my skills to bring more surprise to fans in the future,” Wu told reporters.
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