Hsieh Su-Wei: tennis maverick looks back at memorable Australian Open

The Taiwanese star, ranked among the world’s best doubles players, reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne, the furthest she has ever traveled in Grand Slam singles.

“Every moment is very special, no matter if it’s winning or losing, because sometimes when you lose you will learn a lot,” Hsieh told CNN Sport.

“Like [when] I played Naomi, I saw the number of her serve speed, I felt like, “Wow”. You have to look to the future, look at the good parts. I am that kind of person.

“I’m trying to get a little better because, you know, with my style, I wouldn’t serve like Naomi, but I will try to improve myself.”

Unlike most players on the pro tour, Hsieh doesn’t have a racket kit or sponsor, which means she pays for all of her equipment herself.

According to coach Paul McNamee, she can go years without changing racquets, which many players do multiple times in the same game.

Speaking to reporters at the Australian Open, McNamee said Hsieh had already gone three years without changing racquets and only thought it was time for a change when the strings started to break.
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Hsieh Su-Wei reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Play without a sponsor

Ranked 50th in the world on the Singles Tour, Hsieh remains relaxed about the possibility that her Melbourne success could see a wave of sponsorship opportunities arise.

“People say it’s grappling with a sponsor situation, but I don’t think of it that way because there’s always a sponsor who comes to me, but I don’t have a manager,” Hsieh said, which has career earnings of over $ 9 million.

“So for me if I can’t find someone I can work with [with], so i better focus on tennis because i am a tennis player. You can’t forget what you are doing and what your first priority is. So I just make decisions. Very simple.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal to have it or not to have it.”

Having climbed the junior ranks in Taiwan, a country without much tennis infrastructure, Hsieh demonstrated his early potential, but his father and mentor were never able to secure a sponsorship deal.

She said her small stature used to deter potential sponsors, they asked her to come back when she was still grown up.

Undeterred, Hsieh began playing professionally at the age of 16, although life on tour was not easy. She struggled to enter tournaments and had to plan everything herself. That was until she met McNamee.

The former Australian tennis player took a Hsieh under her wing in 2011 and relieved her of administrative headaches. This allowed Hsieh to focus on his game and unleash his true potential.

“He’s kind of like my teacher, my parents, my family and a good friend,” Hsieh said of McNamee’s influence.

“He’s always behind me, next to me, it was very useful. I feel so much support and so much warmth.

“I feel very happy because when you work with people who are always nice and positive, you get a lot of good energy.”

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Hsieh captured the hearts of the public with his positive attitude.

Australian Open Race

Hsieh has won three Grand Slam doubles titles, making her one of Asia’s most successful players, and her unorthodox style of play makes her a constant thorn for some of the sport’s elites.

She seems to play on instinct which, to say the least, often makes a great match for those watching her.

However, despite his record in Melbourne this year, Hsieh was not feeling in great shape in the preparation for the tournament.

“It’s very strange because before the tournament started, 24 hours before, I didn’t really feel in tennis and all of a sudden on Sunday I just felt like, oh I should play like this and then I do, “said Hsieh, who was one of 72 players placed in strict quarantine 14 days before the start of the Australian Open.

“This is what happens. Sometimes tennis is like a feeling, mental[ity] or you just need to change it a bit and it happens. ”

Her refreshing approach to life and tennis shows no signs of slowing down as she ages.

But be careful not to over-mention his age, as one journalist found out the hard way in Melbourne.

After Hsieh turned the odds upside down by beating 2019 US Champion Bianca Andreescu in straight sets, field interviewer Brett Phillips congratulated her on her victory and, after mentioning her age, asked how many years she was. thought he could keep playing.

Hsieh delivered a rapier-like response to the question, followed by his characteristic smile.

“Just a little reminder [for] you. In Asia we don’t normally say the girl’s age in public, ”she said, putting her finger to her mouth to silence the interviewer.

Age is just a number

Age is just a number for the Taiwanese star.

“I’m not focused on that so it’s not a problem for me, I just do what I have to do,” she said.

“I try to make my job a little different. Every year I try to find something different to make it happen, to be stronger or to move better.”

Now based in Paris, France, with boyfriend and trainer Frédéric Anière, Hsieh wants to make the most of his later years in the game.

She has proven throughout her career that she is capable of rubbing shoulders with the best singles players on the WTA Tour and fans will certainly be hoping to see her more in the Grand Slam tournaments to come.

“For me, it’s very important to stay healthy, to be happy and to work hard. You just have to be patient, ”she said, adding that living in Paris gives her the perfect opportunity to indulge in her second love; food.

“Find other stuff that you’ve never tried because I’m the person who likes to try all food and I like to try other skills in the field.

“Practice something that you never use on the court because you never know when you might be using it.”

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