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Wimbledon bosses backing China's Grand plans

China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-08 09:44

China should not have to wait too much longer to end its Grand Slam drought. That's the view held by Wimbledon supremos Michael Gradon and Dan Bloxham, who expect the efforts being made to cultivate junior players here to soon bear fruit.

"China has just as much right as any country to win a Grand Slam," All England Club head coach Bloxham told Xinhua at the Road To Wimbledon junior competition in Beijing.

"If the quality of coaching when they're young is good, then by the time they reach 20 there should be several Chinese players in the top echelons. There's no real trick; it's just having a good quantity of players in a great environment, and that equals more chance of winning Grand Slams."

The Road To Wimbledon is a competition for under-14 players, which eventually concludes on the famous grass courts of the All England Club in south London.

"In places like China, there isn't the same history of tennis (as the UK). So we need to explain what Wimbledon means, and what differentiates Wimbledon from every other tournament in the world," Gradon explained.

"It's great for us that the Chinese Tennis Association is showing a real enthusiasm for tennis and Wimbledon.

"There wouldn't be much point in us trying to promote the grass-court game and Wimbledon to a country that had no interest in tennis or in developing juniors."

China's only Grand Slam singles winner to date is Li Na, who won the 2011 French Open and the Australian Open in 2014 before retiring later that year.

Currently there are no Chinese men ranked in the ATP's top 200. However, the women are faring much better, with five Chinese in the WTA's top 100, including 16th-ranked Wang Qiang, who recently reached the quarterfinals of the Miami Open.

Bloxham believes that the high level of professionalism in women's tennis relative to the men's game makes it an attractive proposition.

"With tennis, men and women play on an equal platform, so young athletes in China are seeing females playing on the same platform as Roger Federer," said Bloxham. "It's very unusual to have a female sport held at such a high level."

And Gradon is convinced seeing a Chinese player being crowned singles champion at Wimbledon for the first time would do wonders for the popularity of lawn tennis in China.

"You can just imagine how fantastic it would be for China to have a Wimbledon champion. China obviously loves sport, and there are few bigger things in world sport than to win the singles title at Wimbledon. I think that would be great for China and great for Wimbledon."


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