Saturday, May 23, 2015Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tennis legend Federer backs Chinese men to shine

Published on Oct 11, 2012 4:47 PM

SHANGHAI (AFP) - Roger Federer believes success for China's men can inspire a generation in the world's most populous nation, which last year produced Asia's first Grand Slam singles champion.

Li Na's 2011 French Open win catapulted her to superstar status in the country of 1.3 billion and Zheng Jie has reached Grand Slam semi-finals as the men languished.

But at last week's Beijing Open Zhang Ze, ranked No. 154, shocked Frenchman Richard Gasquet to become the first Chinese man ever to beat a top 20 player.

Swiss 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer is not surprised the Chinese men, with Zhang and Wu Di (179) both now in the top 200, are making progress.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!