The rise of tennis in China with a new hero, Zheng Qinwen

The reflection of revolution in Chinese tennis: Eight players, seven women and one man, are currently in the top 100.

After her convincing 6-0, 6-3 triumph over French Oceane Dodin in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Monday emergence of Zheng Qinwen was established probably, considering both ranking and form as the one of the leading players to reach the final in Melbourne this week. 

The achievement would be an early culmination of China’s recent tennis boom — where an emerging set of talented players of a sport with increasing popularity have been given institutional support. 

Tennis enjoys unprecedented popularity in China. A report published by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in 2021 states that nearly a quarter (22.9%) of global tennis is played in China, despite the country not boasting of a high number of courts, clubs, or academies. According to Vogue, the country’s tennis boom is as much about the sport as it is about it being a “lifestyle and fashion phenomenon”, pointing to its ties to aspirations of upward mobility of social-status. 

Despite some successful doubles players, two-time Major winner Li Na is the only global tennis star from the country.

She retired in 2014. Until 2022, no Chinese man had ever won a main draw singles match at a Grand Slam. More recently, however, tennis has received major government backing. 



Facilities were overhauled, grassroots academies have been provided focus, more tournaments have been organized, former players and foreign experts have been roped in as coaches. China also has the advantage of dominating the Asian swing of the professional tours.

The results of all of the above are there to see. Eight players, seven women and one man, are currently in the top 100. Nine Chinese players were in the singles main draw of the Australian Open this year.

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