Chinese tennis player Wu Yibing made history this week by becoming the first Chinese man to win a singles match at a Grand Slam event in 63 years.
Wu, 22, beat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili, 30, in the opening round of the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City on Monday.
“I didn’t make too many unforced errors,” Wu said. “I’m calm now and I’m more interested in adjusting my form and getting ready for the next match.”
Wu, who was No. 1,869 in the ATP ranking in March, is now at No. 174 given his 14 consecutive wins this season. He last beat French tennis player Corentin Moutet at the 2022 U.S. Open qualifiers on Friday, making him the first Chinese man to qualify for the tournament’s men’s singles main draw action. Wu was later followed by his compatriot Zhang Zhizhen in the main draw.
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Prior to Wu’s victory, the last Chinese man to win a U.S. Open singles match was Cheng Guy in 1935. “It’s happy and exciting but still more matches to come,” Wu, the 2017 U.S. Open boys’ singles champion at Flushing Meadows, told ATP Tour. “The third set, I don’t know if he was hurting or something, I just tried to make all the balls and tried to stay in the game, not thinking about winning or losing. That’s why I guess I didn’t show much emotions. I feel pretty calm.” Speaking to China Daily, Wu said he is excited to be back at a major event since 2017 when he also won a doubles title.
“It’s pretty special for me, but I’m just trying to play my tennis, show the people or myself that I still can play,” Wu said. “It’s been a tough few years for me. I really suffered from injuries and COVID in China. It seems like I can still play a little bit of tennis.”
“I’m happy about what I did here. I love the people here, the crowd,” Wu continued. “Many Chinese people came to support, I love it.”
After suffering from injuries to his elbow, Wu took a hiatus from competing from March 2019 to January of this year.
Both Wu and Zhang became the first Chinese men to enter the U.S. Open main draw since the beginning of the Open era in 1968.
Tim van Rijthoven of the Netherlands defeated Zhang in the opening round on Monday. Meanwhile, Wu is set to face Portuguese qualifier Nuno Borges on Wednesday.