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Tennis

How an Indian-ace inspired a Taiwanese comeback

An unusual Indian connection made the news at a recent Taipei tennis tournament.

How an Indian-ace inspired a Taiwanese comeback
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Hsieh Cheng-peng, first from left, pictured alongside Rohan Bopanna in 2019 (File photo)

By

Rahul Kargal

Published: 19 May 2024 11:03 AM GMT

India’s challenge at this week's Santaizi ATP Challenger tournament in Taipei ended with Ramkumar Ramanathan’s doubles-loss in the quarterfinals.

But long after the dust settled, a rather unusual Indian connection made the news.

A career that promised much

32-year old Hsieh Cheng-peng lost in the first-round of the doubles event at the tournament - a rather uneventful result for any standards.

But when the player in question is a winner of three boys' doubles grand slams, heads are bound to turn.

As a teenager, Cheng-peng won the Australian Open boys doubles titles, and similar boys titles at Wimbledon and the US Open - all between 2008 and 2009.

For the Taiwanese national, these results were promising but his senior career didn’t quite turn out as planned.

And after a defeat in August 2023 in China, Cheng-peng had stopped playing.

Inspired to play again

Interestingly, Cheng-peng’s older sister is the rather illustrious Hsieh Su-wei - an eight-time grand-slam doubles winner.

If his older-sister wasn't good enough inspiration already, Cheng-peng drew resolve from across the high seas.

"I saw 43-year-old Bopanna win the men's doubles title at this year's Australian Open and also rise to the World No. 1 spot in doubles. I realised that I was 10-years younger than him and should be able to fight again," said the Taiwenese in an interview to Suvam Pal, a Taipei-based broadcast journalist.

In the interview, published by The Mid-Day, Cheng-peng cites the Indian ace as the reason behind his return to professional tennis.

"I have beaten Bopanna before, and that has made me more motivated to return to professional tennis once again," added the 32-year-old.

Bopanna stunned the tennis world earlier this year when he became the oldest player to win a tennis grand slam tournament, winning accolades from the world over.

And this gesture from Cheng-peng is just another illustration of how sporting excellence - bred in India - is transcending geographical boundaries.

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