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No. 1 motivation: India tennis ace Bopanna inspires Taiwanese Hsieh’s comeback

Updated on: 19 May,2024 07:51 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Suvam Pal |

Hsieh, who also uses the English name of Akon, added, “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 

No. 1 motivation: India tennis ace Bopanna inspires Taiwanese Hsieh’s comeback

Rohan Bopanna; (right) Taiwanese tennis player Hsieh Cheng-peng. Pic/Suvam Pal

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At a time when India is looking up to Taiwan to fulfil its mission of becoming a global semiconductor hub, a Taiwanese sportsperson has drawn inspiration from his Indian counterpart. Arguably, one of Taiwan’s most outstanding male tennis players, Hsieh Cheng-peng, has made a comeback to competitive tennis at this week’s Santaizi ATP Challenger tournament in Taipei. 


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The doubles specialist, who had won four boys’ doubles titles at three of the four majors, including two at the Australian Open, one at Wimbledon, and one at the US Open between 2008 and 2009, returned to the tour with a wildcard entry at the USD 82,000 prize money event in Taiwan’s capital with India’s Rohan Bopanna being his “motivation.” He failed to win the first-round match in his home tournament, but Hsieh, whose sister Hsieh Su-wei is the current World No. 1 in women’s doubles, has cited the Indian, who became the oldest first-time No. 1 at the age of 43 in men’s doubles earlier this year, as one of the reasons behind picking up the racquet again for an ATP event. 32-year-old Hsieh, who hasn’t played since his first-round defeat at the ATP Challenger in Zhuhai in China in August 2023, said that there are primarily two reasons behind his comeback. “First, my father passed away last October. When I was playing professionally, I invited him many times. My father went to the competition with me, but he thought that the doubles prize money was not enough and he was afraid of wasting money, so he never made the trip. Since he left, I have dreamed of him many times. Maybe it was because he was trying to urge me,” he said. 


Hsieh, who also uses the English name of Akon, added, “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.” 

Interestingly, Hsieh’s illustrious sister, who is the highest-ranked Taiwanese player in history, in both singles and doubles, too won two titles at Melbourne Park this year, bagging the women’s doubles as well as the mixed doubles title—her seventhth and eighth major titles respectively—at the age of 38. But he mentioned, “I have beaten Bopanna before, and that has made me more motivated to return to professional tennis once again.”

Suvam Pal is a Taipei-based broadcast journalist working for the TaiwanPlus news channel

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