OLYMPICS/Taiwan tennis ace retires after losing in Olympic men's singles

07/25/2021 04:07 PM
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Five-time Olympian Lu Yen-hsun. CNA photo July 25, 2021
Five-time Olympian Lu Yen-hsun. CNA photo July 25, 2021

Taipei, July 25 (CNA) Taiwan veteran tennis player Lu Yen-hsun (盧彥勳) on Sunday announced his retirement following a decorated 20-year professional career after losing to world No. 5 Alexander Zverev of Germany in the first round of the men's singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 37-year-old Lu lost to Zverev, 24, 6-1, 6-3 in 59 minutes at the Ariake Tennis Court 1.

Lu, a five-time Olympian and one of Taiwan's top male tennis players for two decades, had previously announced he would retire from the sport after the Tokyo Olympics.

He was one of the two flag bearers for Taiwan at the opening ceremony of the international sports event from July 23-Aug. 8.

After playing his last career tennis match at the Olympics Sunday morning, Lu told Taiwanese reporters that he feels proud for himself even though the end was not exactly perfect.

"I had the courage to give my everything on court even though the ending was not so good," Lu said.

"Although I could not stand on the podium for the Olympics trophy ceremony, I feel like I have already stood at my own podium and I feel nothing but pride for myself," he added.

Lu, who turns 38 in August, was making his fifth appearances at the Olympics since Athens 2004, with his best finish a round of 16 showing in Beijing in 2008 after knocking out Andy Murray in the first round.

Since turning pro in 2001, Lu is best known for his performance at Wimbledon in 2010 when he became the first Taiwanese player to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam championship, and the first man from Asia to reach the quarterfinals of a major in 15 years.

He has a career record of 162-230 in singles and a highest world ranking of No. 33.

In a Facebook post, Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) expressed the nation's gratitude to Lu.

"You are the pride of Taiwan, thank you for playing your last career match representing Taiwan at the Tokyo Olympics," Lai said in the post.

Hsieh Yu-chieh (left) and Hsu Chieh-yu. CNA photo July 25, 2021
Hsieh Yu-chieh (left) and Hsu Chieh-yu. CNA photo July 25, 2021

Also on Sunday, Taiwanese female tennis pair Hsieh Yu-chieh (謝語倢) and Hsu Chieh-yu (許絜瑜) were eliminated after losing to two-time French Opens champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-1, in the women's Doubles First Round.

Hsieh is the younger sister of this year's Wimbledon women's doubles champion Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇). The Hsieh-Hsu duo were making their first Olympics appearance and the pair only learned they would be competing one week before the Tokyo Games began.

(By Huang Chiao-wen, Yeh Su-ping and Joseph Yeh)

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