Three Chinese men are competing at the 2023 Australian Open for the first time, with one of these players being 17-year-old Shang Juncheng, a former top-ranked junior who trains at IMG Academy.
In this year’s main draw, Shang joined Wu Yibing, 23, and Zhang Zhizhen, 26, to make history in Melbourne. He feels proud to join a new wave of Chinese men in professional tennis. “We have three players in the top 200, and I’m happy that I’m one of them,” Shang says. “The other two are like older brothers to me and have been on the tour a lot longer than me. We do practice a lot, and we do speak about how the game is right now and how we can push forward to a higher ranking.”
Shang was also the youngest men’s player to qualify for the Grand Slam and managed to defeat his first round opponent from Germany, unranked Oscar Otte, by a score of 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 on opening day. He unfortunately fell short in the second round of the Australian Open to 16th-ranked Frances Tiafoe from the USA, 4-6, 4-6,1-6.
Even though he’s still fresh in the professional tennis world, Shang is excited to grow and learn from the Chinese greats that came before him. “For me, each step is a learning step right now,” he explains. “I’m in a young stage of my career, only my second year playing professional tennis. So, for me, it’s just watching how they do things, like we’ve also watched Li Na and how she did things.”
You can read the full article in The New York Times.
IMG Academy continues to be the industry leader in tennis development for student-athletes and campers. To sign up for a tennis camp or another youth program, check out the links below.