By Chinami Tajika
Northwest Asian Weekly
Taiwanese tennis player Yen-Hsun Lu, ranked 82nd in the world, stunned fans by defeating U.S. player Andy Roddick, ranked seventh, in the Wimbledon tournament. This year, Wimbledon is being held June 21 to July 4.
Yen-Hsun Lu was born in 1983. His father was a live chicken businessman who supplied the birds to butchers and food outlets in Taiwan. Lu grew up watching his father start work at 1 a.m.. Raising chicken was a part of his life. “I can show you,” Lu said, smiling, in an interview. “Yeah, serious. I can catch a chicken.”
When Lu was 8 years old, his father decided the two would learn to play tennis together. Neither Lu nor his father had any idea how to play. As Lu’s talent emerged, his father guided his career and supported him even though his father was not a tennis coach. Lu said that his father spent a lot of time driving him from school to the tennis coach. “He [took] care of everything,” Lu said.
“[In] the beginning, [my] family support[ed me],” Lu said. “When I play now, there’s some sponsor to support us. But when I [was a] kid, [my] family support[ed].”
In 2000, Lu turned professional. Unfortunately, in the same year, his father passed away. “… I’m just very sad about this,” Lu said after his match with Roddick, referring to the fact that his father wasn’t able to see him win. “But today, I think he’s here, and he is also very happy for me.”
Lu’s round against Andy Roddick, last year’s Wimbledon finalist, caused a big upset at Wimbledon when he won. Their game lasted more than four hours.
Lu said that even he didn’t believe that he could win the match. “I [didn’t] believe I [could] win because he’s [a] better server than me. But I just told myself, even if I don’t believe, I have to fight.”
In four of his six previous Wimbledon tournaments, Lu couldn’t get through the first round. His best scores at Wimbledon were in the second rounds in 2004 and 2005.
On Wednesday, June 30, Lu played Novak Djokovic to whom he lost. Before the match, Lu admitted that Djokovic is a very good player. “I don’t know how far I can play. I cannot tell you. But I can tell you if I have a chance to step on the court, I will fight [to] the end,” he said.
Though Lu’s ultimate defeat disappointed fans, many will remember his stunning win against Roddick. ♦
Chinami Tajika can be reached at email@example.com.