French Open Begins…Chinese Tennis On Display

Posted in Tennis at 3:06 pm by Nicole

Pro tennis has been on the map in China for several years now – and arguably, it all started at the French Open. Chinese-American star Michael Chang won the event in 1989 with several startling victories over legendary players such as Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg. Chang’s name in Chinese is “张德培” (Zhang Depei) and I had a cute moment with my first class of sports journalism students at Shantou University a year ago when I said, hmm, it’s interesting that you all think of him as Chinese, because back home, we think of him as American! (Chang became the first American men’s victor at the French Open since Tony Trabert in 1955.)

In honor of the start of this year’s French Open, in which there are no less than six Chinese women entered in the main draw, here are a few news clips dedicated to the emergence of tennis in China. The women are already Grand Slam champions and Olympic gold medalists; the men haven’t caught up yet but the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) has still capitalized on the popularity of the sport by hosting the men’s season-ending Master’s Cup competition in Shanghai.

The website for the French Open can be found here. The BNP Paribas website can be found here.

News articles on tennis in China:

Time Asia on the emergence of China’s tennis superstars (January 2006)
China.org on the Olympic gold-medal success of Sun Tiantian and Li Ting (September 2004)
China.org on the announcement of the first annual China Open tennis tournament (September 2004)
China Daily on Zheng Jie’s 2004 run to the French Open fourth round (June 2004)

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