Tennis in China
Tennis in China is a rapidly growing sport that has received much private and public support, and has today become firmly entrenched in the Chinese as one of the most popular. Tennis is now the third-most popular sport on television in China, behind Association football and basketball. The national governing body is the China Tennis Association.
China has 30,000 tennis courts and an estimated 14 million people in China regularly play tennis, up from 1 million when the sport returned to the Olympics in 1988, according to the WTA Tour. The Chinese government is aiming to increase that by 15 percent every year. The nation's tennis market has reached $4 billion annually, according to Tom Cannon, a professor and sports finance expert at the University of Liverpool Management School in England.
The women's tour in 2014 upgraded the China Open in Beijing to become the only combined event with the men's tour in Asia. Played at the Beijing Olympic Tennis Center with combined prize money of $6.6 million and a main stadium that holds 10,000 spectators, the China Open is now one of the WTA's top four tournaments. The ATP's other flagship tournament in Asia is the $3.24 million Shanghai Masters.
"Swing For The Stars" China tennis junior development program
"Swing For The Stars" China tennis junior development program launched in 2007, and gave tennis training courses to about 400 players at 12 years old and under and over 100 coaches from different provinces, nationwide. At the same time,on-line counselling and activities are also key parts of the item, over 2,900,000 people took advantages of high-efficient tennis training mode which was taught by Jeff Bearup, an elite coach of USTA. In 2009 starting with the international clinic which is held at Eugene, Oregon, U.S.A, four selected players (2 boys and two girls) from “Swing for the stars” and two coaches from junior group are going to participate in a four-week high-level tennis training and enjoy the thoughtful hospitality under the cares from coach Jeff Bearup and a special guest – former champion of Davis cup Dennis Ralston. In 2009, provincial and municipal “Swing for the stars” tennis clinic will be expend to 8 cities(doubled 2008). Then more 12 years old and under players are going to have chance to participate in a five-day most advanced, best tennis training, the whole training plan and teaching conception is designed by the best junior tennis coach of U.S.A for junior tennis player, and all trained in person by provincial outstanding junior tennis coaches who have participated in Jeff Bearup's training course. At the same time, ”Swing for the stars” junior clinic will continue to provide online interactive and other characteristic services. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz “Swing for the Stars” Junior Coaches Seminar with the aim of providing high-level tennis teaching philosophy is a new addition to the highly successful “Swing for the Stars” Program. The SFS advanced coaching seminars will be conducted by international coach Josh Rilla and Coach Liu Shuo using the SFS method as developed by Coach Jeff Bearup centering on "High Performance". Meanwhile, we'll pick two excellent coaches from each station to participate the National Coaches Advanced Seminars when Bearup will give more profound training and instruction in person. The year will conclude with the national training camp as part of the"Mercedes-Benz Cup" China Tennis Grand Prix. The instruction will once again be led by Bearup and we'll pick two male players and two female players (4 in total) to attend a week-long top-class tennis training course. After the national camp, 4 players (2 male and 2 female) together with two coaches will be selected to participate in the international camp in Eugene, US. All the participants will enjoy a wonderful time with coach Jeff Bearup.
China Open Rating Tour
The China Open Rating Tour (CRT) is to be launched in April 2009. The CRT is the new national amateur tennis league and is an effort to spur greater interest in tennis at the grassroots level.
The CRT will be divided into three levels of proficiency to sharpen its competitive edge, similar to a boxing competition with different weight classes. It will feature singles, doubles and mixed doubles play. Winners of each competition level will battle for the national trophy during the newly promoted China Open tournament that runs from Oct 1-11.
The tournament will be divided into six regions, with seven cities hosting competition. The regions and cities include: North (Beijing), Northeast (Shenyang), Central (Wuhan), East (Shanghai), South (Guangzhou) and West (Kunming and Chengdu).
Amateurs and retired professionals of any age – or nationality – are invited to apply to compete in the CRT via the league's official website.
Overview and history
Overall there are four fundamental reasons that have contributed to the growth of tennis in China. Firstly, the national economy has improved enormously and the booming middle class sees tennis as a family sport and a way to improve social status. Secondly, there has been the emergence of higher ranked players from other parts of Asia, such as Japan, India, Thailand and Indonesia all of whom spur competition and standard of play. Thirdly, the investment of the International Tennis Federation and the Chinese Tennis Association in the development of the grass-roots game has been crucial. And finally there are the Beijing Olympics, considered as a way to raise the profile of sports in China.
When tennis became a fully-fledged Olympic sport, the government began to invest money in the sport. This became a trend in many parts of the world, such as Russia, Serbia and Croatia. Funds were also secured to send teams of players overseas. The women's national team soon reached the elite World Group in the Fed Cup. With funding issues taken care of, the players and their coaches were able to concentrate totally on training and preparation. New programs were introduced for speed and stamina training and for developing technical expertise.
While Chinese women players dominate the scene today, it was the men who made the initial breakthrough. In 2003, at the Heineken Open in Shanghai, wildcards Zeng Shaoxuan and Zhu Benqiang made an important advance. They became the first players from China to reach a tour-level doubles final.
In 2006, more tennis history was written when Zheng Jie and Yan Zi won doubles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Li Na at the same Wimbledon year, became the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam singles quarter-final and also the first player from China to be ranked in the world's top 20. Li Na and Zheng Jie were also the first players to compete in an all-Chinese final - in Estoril (Portugal) in 2006. At Wimbledon in 2008, Zheng Jie became first Chinese player ever to reach semifinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament, and in 2009, became the first Chinese player to be ranked in the world's top 15, as world number 15.
During the 2010 Australian Open, Li Na and compatriot Zheng Jie made history for becoming the first two Chinese players to reach the top four of a Grand Slam tournament simultaneously. The media dubbed the players as the two "Golden Flowers," and many heralded their feat as a breakthrough for Chinese tennis. In 2011, Li Na became the first player to reach the final of the Australian Open but was unable to take the title. Months later, Li reached her second consecutive Grand Slam final at the French Open and won her first Grand Slam singles title, thus becoming the first player from Asia to win a Slam. Her feat has sparked a major population growth of tennis players in China. Others have suggested it signals the emergence of China as a tennis power.
The Michael Chang Mission Hills Tennis Academy (which has 50 courts) opened in 2008 in Shenzhen, where Michael Chang aims to nurture young Chinese players in a bid to bring the level of Chinese tennis up to the international standard. He intends to contribute his experience accumulated from playing in world tournaments to the development of tennis in China. Chang is very popular in China, where he is better known by his Mandarin name Zhang Depei. Chang, who retired in 2002, has worked as a coach with Peng Shuai in 2007.
Events and tournaments
- JB Group Classic
- China Tennis Grand Prix
Statistics By Player
Players shown in bold are active.
|Player||WTA Singles Titles||Grand Slam Singles Titles||WTA Doubles Titles||Grand Slam Doubles Titles||WTA 125K Singles Titles||WTA 125K Doubles Titles||ITF Singles Titles||ITF Doubles Titles||Total Titles||Highest Singles Ranking||Highest Doubles Ranking|
|Sun Tiantian||1||0||12||1 (Mixed)||0||0||6||13||32||77||16|
Since its return in 2005, the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai has been held at the spectacular Qi Zhong Stadium, a facility that many believe features the best tennis court in the world. In China, feng shui plays an important cultural role. Placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment was crucial. All this was taken into consideration in the design of Qi Zhong, built on unused land about 32 kilometers from the center of Shanghai. In less than 18 months the 15,000-seat stadium was constructed with a retractable roof unlike any other in the world. Named after the flower of Shanghai, the "magnolia roof" twists as it opens and closes. It comprises eight panels or "petals" - eight is considered a very lucky number in China.
The WTA is to set up its regional office in Beijing in 2008 and the city has been awarded one of the WTA's premier events. In 2009, the China Open will be combined event for women and men. It is one of the four mandatory events for the WTA and it will be played at the new Olympic Green Tennis Centre, built for tennis matches at the 2008 Olympic Games.
See: Chinese tennis players
Chinese women have won Olympic and Grand Slam doubles titles over the last six years, while Li Na and Zheng Jie have made the most significant breakthroughs in singles by reaching semifinals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Li was the first Chinese player to break into the top 10 of the women's game and win a singles grand slam in 2011 at the French Open. China's Li Ting and Sun Tian Tian won the women's doubles gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. In 2006, Zheng and Yan Zi became the country's first Grand Slam champions, taking the women's doubles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. At the, Zheng and Yan got a bronze medal in the women's doubles. China now has three women inside the top 50.
On the men's side, currently only Zhang Ze (154), Wu Di (176), and Zeng Shaoxuan (299) occupy positions inside the top 500 in the singles rankings.
- "Defeat fails to dim China pride in "Golden Flowers"". Reuters. January 29, 2010.
- "China's crushed 'Golden Flowers' to bloom again". The Times Of India. Archived from the original on February 4, 2010.
- "China's progress could be sign of glory to come - CNN.com". CNN. January 29, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- "China serves notice of new world order". The Australian. January 29, 2010.
- McDonald, Margie (January 30, 2010). "Sleeping panda awoke at Athens Games". The Australian.
- Perpetual Spirit Special Issue Tennis (June 2008)