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The Biofile Yen-Hsun Lu

Yen-Hsun Lu© AFP/Getty ImagesYen-Hsun Lu burst on the scene last year, reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

Chinese Taipei's Yen-Hsun Lu reveals his strangest tennis match, musical tastes and the funniest players he's encountered on tour in this biofile...

First Tennis Memory: “I remember I start to hit the wall. I don’t know how long. Then the schoolteacher ask me to go join the tennis team. That’s what I remember. In the beginning I pick up the ball, play with the racquet. Then suddenly I play against the wall. And I start to play tennis. Actually, I was always watching my brother play, picking up the balls for them. And suddenly, somebody actually – my father – gave me a racquet and I start to play against the wall. Nobody teach me. Then the schoolteacher ask me to join the team.”

Tennis Inspirations: “When I was a kid I used to love to watch Sampras and Edberg. Because they always show the Wimbledon in Taiwan. So I always watch these two stars make the final and win Wimbledon. I follow it very much. Then I start to play professional. Right now I don’t really have the idol to follow because I feel it’s many people who have good points of them and also they also have something they need to improve. So I always look at other players, what I can learn from them. Not only from Rafa and Roger, I see the top 20 or top 40 or top 100, mentally how they survive from the tournaments, how they win the matches and which part of them I can learn it.”

Last Book Read: “I enjoy to learn about history. From a good book you read a sentence and it opens your mind. And you change your thinking. So I always try to be reading a book and to make a different thinking.”

Musical Tastes: “I always like Chinese music. Sometimes I listen to English music but not much. I still like Chinese style most.”

Pre-Match Feeling: “For me, for sure, I’m nervous. I feel nervous when you are going on the court, there are many things you are not sure about. So I have to start hitting the ball to feel the ball from the first point or from the five-minute warm-up. I will be starting with confidence to play the match. But of course I prepare my mental before the match, to fight for every ball. But for my personality, for my body, I have to hit the first ball from the warm-up, to feel the court. Then I feel comfortable. Then I join the match.”

Favorite Meal: “Asian. Indian.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “I’m always taking chocolate or green tea, strawberry, blueberry, those kinds. I don’t try the strange flavors.”

Current Car: “Now, because I am sponsored by Saab, so I drive this car [smiles].”

Greatest Sports Moment: “Right now, I talk to you [laughs]. No, of course now the first time I make the quarterfinals in Wimbledon. That’s the greatest. Nothing can be like this.”

Most Painful Moment: “2004. I…no, that’s only one match. Most painful moment of my career – when I was injured 2007, I had disc problem and I couldn’t complete one match. And I have to retire to rest for three-four months. So that moment I really think I probably gonna quit the tennis. I injured back after I play Memphis tournament. Then after I try to go somewhere – I forget where – I win a first round, next day I couldn’t move at all. So after that I see a doctor, I make MRI and I do rehab. Try to comeback, nothing worked. I still have the pain for four months. Then, after, my manager decide to take new doctor, new physical. We take half the year to solve this problem.”

Favorite Tournaments: “Let me think…I like Toronto very much. And all the Asian tournaments I like most.”

Closest Tennis Friends: “I work a lot with Schuettler, Janko Tipsarevic. We played doubles together. We are like very close friends.”

Funniest Players Encountered: “I don’t know, I couldn’t say because many players are funny. South American players are more relaxing. So I like the style who don’t give you the pressure and they are always looking at the problems but they are still relaxed. They don’t get stressful. I like them. I don’t know if their whole life is funny but I like the way they take everything.”

Toughest Competitors: “For me, I think…it’s difficult to say [smiles]. Everybody is not easy to play. I cannot say who is the most toughest. For sure, for one I’d pick out Roger because I lost to him and he was number one in the world. But everybody you have to fight.”

Strangest Match: “I only can say the match I was in Chennai against Vliegen and I was like killing him in like 40 minutes, 6-1 5-2, match point. Then after I lost the tiebreaker in second set, third set I start the same, 5-2 up. And another match point. And lost it 7-6 or 7-5. That’s the most strange for me, to lose this match [smiles].”

Favorite Sport(s) Outside Tennis: “I watch baseball, basketball. Because basketball is very popular in my country. I love baseball and basketball.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “I like the people that have very good attitude and work harder, doesn’t matter which position he is. But that he accept and he do the best that he have to do. So I like this person. I don’t like the person, he is always complaining, why am I doing this? Why am I doing that? So, for me, I like the people, even now somebody was picking the trash cans, but he try to do his best. So I will like these people. It doesn’t matter what work he does but I like this kind of person.”

Courtesy of Scoop Malinowski, tennis-prose.com

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