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On the Australian Open, Shang Juncheng Leads Wave of Talent From China


But Shang, once the world’s top-ranked junior, is the youngest member of a promising latest wave that features Wu Yibing, 23, and Zhang Zhizhen, 26.

All three were within the foremost draw this 12 months in Melbourne. It’s the primary time three Chinese men have played singles in the identical major within the Open era, which began in 1968.

On Monday, while Shang was breaking through on Court 13, Wu was on adjoining Court 14, playing grinding rallies with Corentin Moutet of France before losing in five sets.

Wu, who also trains at IMG Academy, reached the third round of last 12 months’s U.S. Open, where Zhang lost in the primary round. Now Shang, a dynamic left-hander who looks like probably the most promising talent of the group, has joined them at this level.

“Now we have now three players in the highest 200, and I’m comfortable that I’m one among them,” Shang said. “The opposite two are like older brothers to me and have been on the tour lots longer than me. We do practice lots, and we do discuss how the sport is immediately and the way we are able to push forward to the next rating. For me, each step is a learning step immediately. I’m in a young stage of my profession, only my second 12 months playing skilled tennis. So, for me, it’s just watching how they do things, like we’ve also watched Li Na and the way she did things.”

Shang wears an earring in his left ear.

“That’s something my dad had for a very long time,” he said. “After I was around 10 years old, I used to be like, ‘I would like to be like dad,’ and so we went to get it together. I’ve had it for a very long time.”

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