Zhang Zhizhen becomes first male Chinese tennis player to reach ATP Top 100

  • Zhang Zhizhen, 26, became the first male Chinese tennis player to reach the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Top 100 since the rankings were first released on Aug. 23, 1973.
  • Zhang's victories against Hungarian player Marton Fucsovics and Argentinian player Sebastian Baez at the ATP 250 tennis tournament in Naples, Italy, on Thursday helped him climb up the ranks, where he was No. 109 before the tournament.
  • Zhang previously made history by becoming the first male Chinese tennis player last year to play singles in the main draw at The Championships (Wimbledon) since the Open Era began in 1968.

China’s Zhang Zhizhen made history after becoming the first male Chinese tennis player to reach the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Top 100 rankings.

Despite losing 6-4, 3-6, 2-6 to American player Mackenzie McDonald at the ATP 250 tennis tournament’s quarterfinal in Naples, Italy, on Friday, the 26-year-old Shanghai-born player still managed to eventually secure the 97th spot of the ATP singles Top 100 on Monday.

Zhang’s prior victories against Hungarian player Marton Fucsovics and Argentinian player Sebastian Baez on Thursday helped him climb up the ATP Top 100, where he was No. 109 before the tournament.

I think it is a tough road to be Top 100,” Zhang said before his Top 100 ranking was confirmed. “I’m so happy for today because I played two matches today and it is a small step, but it’s also a big step for Chinese men’s tennis.”

Zhang’s inclusion on Monday will go down in history since he is the first male Chinese player to make it to the ATP Top 100 since the rankings were first released on Aug. 23, 1973.

[I will] just be prepared like a normal match again because it is just a tennis match,” Zhang said before his quarterfinal match. “So I’ll try to be better because I need to be recovered [from] today. I’ll do everything to prepare and be ready for tomorrow.”

Zhang kicked off the year at No. 321 in the world rankings before climbing up to No. 239 and later to No. 138 after reaching three consecutive Challenger finals between July and August and winning the ATP Challenger in Cordenons, Italy.

Besides being the first male Chinese tennis player to get into the ATP Top 100, Zhang also notably became the first male Chinese tennis player last year to play singles in the main draw at The Championships (Wimbledon) since the Open Era began in 1968.

Elsewhere, fellow male Chinese tennis player Wu Yubing secured the 117th spot of the ATP singles rankings on Monday. Wu and Zhang became the first two male Chinese players to enter the U.S. Open main draw since the beginning of the Open Era.

Featured Image via US Open Tennis Championships

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