The exhibition match between Zhang Zhizhen and Andy Murray saw tons of Chinese fans cheer for their player, who has officially marked a strong comeback for Chinese tennis in the Open era. While Murray won the game by scores of 2-6, 6-3, and 10-2, he was seen in sweats against a strong serve by Zhang, along with an all-around classic game.
Tennis in the men’s category has been a topic of debate in China for some time now. The women’s category has done well, with Qinwen Zheng clinching a victory over Simona Halep last year. Trend says that the women’s category in China has been doing well despite the men’s category struggling to maintain its performance. Li Na claimed the Australian Open nine years ago, inspiring millions of players to go for the play.
Theories have now started making their way into the media to highlight why China is facing a crisis in the sport.
According to Davis Cup legend Paul McNamee, the country lacks infrastructure and has disparate coaching abilities. The combination of these circumstances is making it tough for tennis to flourish in China. To stress, this is nothing more than a debatable theory. The women’s category has performed admirably. Consequently, the fact that the men’s category is experiencing a crisis makes one wonder if the factors influence particular players.
With Zhang and Wu Yibing’s frequent appearances, the tides are turning for the better. Authorities may be at a crossroads, but the regular appearance of both players gives hope that tennis may make a comeback in a country recognized for its substantial tennis investment.
Some have cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a reason for the absence of tennis, and others are reviewing the strong stance that the WTA took for the safety of Peng Shuai as a reason for the sport to go missing. China did make substantial expenditures in the 2019 WTA Finals. Three years of absence simply begs the obvious question of what went wrong.
Peter Johnston, the director of the Kooyong Classic Tournament, has backed men’s tennis. He has said that this year might see the return of men’s tennis. Peter Johnston stated that preparations for the ATP Tour and other men’s tournaments are in full force in Zhuhai.
China has an appetite for tennis. Assuming the country gets back on its feet, fans will have the added advantage of getting entertained at the best tennis betting sites. Until then, a relaxation in the protocol is carrying hope on its shoulder for bringing tennis back to China.
Quarantine is yet another reason being cited for players to reconsider their participation. Ash Barty, for instance, reportedly suffered from homesickness due to the regulations at home.
“It pushed us to stay out for a whole year, making it difficult to go home,” Zhang said while interacting with the media.