Zhizhen Zhang becomes first Chinese player to qualify for Wimbledon in Open Era



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Zhizhen Zhang becomes first Chinese player to qualify for Wimbledon in Open Era

China's Zhizhen Zhang became the first Chinese player in Open Era to qualify for Wimbledon but he insists he is just beggining. This week, Zhang won three qualifying matches to earn a place in the Wimbledon main draw.

Zhang, 24, is set to make his Wimbledon debut. Zhang has been handed a favorable opener at Wimbledon as he is set to face Antoine Hoang. “It’s not the last tournament for me,” Zhang said. “I didn’t finish the tournament yet.

It’s just the beginning, it just started. [I need to] be calm, be easy”. Zhang then made an interesting revelation. "My full name is too hard for people to say, so I just tell them to say whatever they want to call me and I will respond,” Zhang told ATPTour.com.

“Then it became 'ZZZ' because there are three Zs in my name. It is much easier for people outside of China to say. And it sounds cool. Triple-Z. I also like to sleep, so 'ZZZ' is perfect."

Zhang loved tennis at first sight

“My father gave me a choice: studying, swimming [or] tennis,” Zhang recalled.

“Studying is too boring and it costs too much. Swimming, the coaches are really strong, really tough. I was so scared of the swimming coach. And tennis was fun. The coach was relaxed… I was like, ‘Let’s go [play] tennis.’” Fellow Chinese tennis player Di Wu wasn't surprised by the recent success of his fellow compatriot Zhang.

“I believe he only will be getting better, because he already showed some high quality tennis a couple years ago,” Wu said. “He is talented and has a good understanding of tennis. Most people thought players from Mainland China are not comfortable on grass.

Zhizhen showed how much he has grown in the past few years and I hope people can see more of him in the future.“