Zhang Zhizhen, nicknamed “Triple Z,” became the first male Chinese tennis player to play singles in the main draw at The Championships (Wimbledon) since the Open Era began in 1968.
Rising star: The 24-year-old athlete defeated Argentine Francisco Cerundolo in the qualifiers on Thursday and was supposed to play his first major main draw against France’s Andreas Hoang on June 28, CNN reported.
History for 🇨🇳
— ATP Tour (@atptour) June 25, 2021
- An update on Wimbledon’s Monday schedule indicated that the match between Zhang and Hoang had been canceled. Wimbledon was forced to cancel 20 matches on Monday due to rain, reported Express.
- Zhang, who reached a career-high World No. 136 last year, currently ranks as the World No. 175 in tennis.
- He is only the fourth Chinese man to appear in a grand slam event, following in the footsteps of Wu Di (2013, 2014, 2016), Zhang Ze (2014, 2015), and Li Zhe (2019), who have all played at the Australian Open.
- A win over Hoang would progress Zhang past the first round of The Championships and give him an edge over his Chinese men’s tennis predecessors.
Athletic roots: Zhang was born in Shanghai to athlete parents — his father is former Shanghai Shenhua defender Zhang Weihua, and his mother is former shooter Qin Wei, according to his online bio on ATPTour.
- Zhang was 4 years old when he started playing tennis. At the time, his father thought he was quite small to be a soccer player.
- He joined the Shanghai team at 12 and became the youngest, at age 16, to win the doubles gold medal in the China national games with Wu Di in 2013.
- In 2015, Zhang qualified for his first ATP Tour main draw at the age of 18, a week before he earned his first Top 100 victory in Beijing, according to a feature on ATPTour.
Chinese tennis players Chu Chen Hau and Mei Fu Chi competed in The Championships in 1959, long before the start of the “Open Era” in 1968, when Grand Slam tournaments allowed professional players to compete with amateurs.
Featured Image via ATP Tour