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Lu's world ranking at all-time high after Wimbledon blitz

2010/07/05 17:57:57

Taipei, July 5 (CNA) Lu Yen-hsun's breakthrough performance atWimbledon, including a high-profile five-set win over American AndyRoddick, has sent his ranking to a career high and may open up newsponsorship opportunities that have been elusive in the past.

In the new rankings released by the Association of TennisProfessionals (ATP) Monday, Lu jumped 40 spots to No. 42 afterbecoming the first Taiwanese player and the first Asian since 1995 tomake it into a quarterfinals in a grand slam tournament.

Japan's Shuzo Matsuoka made it into the final eight of the men'ssingles at Wimbledon 15 years ago.

Lu's previous highest ranking had been 55 in April 2009, but hehad hovered between around 80 and 100 since October before hisimprobable showing at the world's top grasscourt tournament.

At a press conference a day after Lu arrived home in TaiwanFriday, the 26-year-old said his next goal will be a strongperformance in the final grand slam of the year, the U.S. Open, whichbegins in late August, and cracking the world's top 20.

If anything, Lu's quarterfinal showing at Wimbledon, andespecially his five-set triumph in the fourth round over Roddick, whohad been tapped by many to break Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal'shold on the tournament, may earn him more sponsorships from localcompanies.

Lu has often sought more sponsorship opportunities to sponsor thenecessary travel, coaching, and trainer expenses most elite playersconsider routine on the ATP Tour.

He visited the state-run CPC Corp., Taiwan Monday to offer hisappreciation to Taiwan's largest oil refiner for the company'ssponsorship of his career since 2002.

CPC President Chu Shao-hua met with Lu and urged Taiwan's newestcelebrity, who had toiled in relative anonymity since turning pro in2001, to deliver an even better performance at Flushing Meadows inNew York.

On whether Lu's breakthrough at Wimbledon will lead CPC toincrease its sponsorship of the top-50 player, Chu said the companyregularly allocated around NT$7 million (US$218,750) each year tosponsor Taiwanese tennis players.

But he said it was not CPC that decided who the recipients wouldbe and how much each player would get.

"Such decisions are made by the Chinese Taipei Tennis Associationand its members, including former Academic Sinica President Yuan-tsehLee," Chu said.

Lu was scheduled, however, to sign a contract with a leadingautomobile company Monday afternoon for a new sponsorship.

(By Oscar Wu and Deborah Kuo)