Tennis Prose



Biofile Zhizhen Zhang Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: ATP no. 99.

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 194

DOB: October 16, 1996 In: Shanghai, China

First Tennis Memory: Red ball, four or five years old. Just playing games, hitting around. Play ever week, one time. So we were running around playing. So it was a really good memory.

Inspirations: Federer-Safin match in the beginning, that Australian Open semifinal when they were playing each other (2005) Safin won in five sets (57 64 57 76 97), really good win. That moment it was Safin, then later it was Federer.

Last Book Read: Chinese fantasy book.

Nickname: ZZZ.

First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: Practice with Federer in Monte Carlo 2016. My agent is Ivan Ljubicic, so he was coach for Roger Federer at that moment. So he’s making the practice.

Current Car: I have a Subaru. (Color?) Light pink – bling bling pink [smiles].

Greatest Career Moment: Quarterfinals (2017) at Shenzhen (as a qualifier).

Most Painful Moment: Can I put a couple? 2022 US Open first round (lost in five sets to van Rijthoven with match points in third set) and 2019 Zhuhai second round (lost with five match points vs Seppi).

Fiercest Competitors Encountered: A lot of the players are super tough. Everybody. In the match I played in 2019 with Dominic Thiem – the match I feel like it as quite far to catch him. Also Rublev, I also feel quite far, I have some distance to catch him. Really tough.

Why Do You Love Tennis: Because I love the feeling after you win the match.

Which Match(es) Did You Feel At Your Best: There’s always one moment. Every single match you have one small moment, you think, Great, everything you make and you won those points. That’s the best moment on court.

Strangest Match: Oh yes… let me think… windy I remember, China altitude plus huge wind. That’s very strange tournament for me. US Open last year qualies we stop three times for rain (won 62 64 vs Zizou Bergs). And then the bad memory came (loss to van Rijthoven in first round main draw 63 76 67 (9-11) 16 46).

Funny Tennis Memory: I think it’s from practice. Many practice situations with the coach, with the friends, playing games, we laugh all the time. Also I play with my physio some small tennis or football tennis. We laugh a lot.

Favorite Sport Outside Tennis: Snooker. Are you counting this as a sport [smiles]?

Favorite Athletes To Watch: Roger was the favorite one I like to watch. Outside tennis, (Ronnie) O’Sullivan. And Chinese snooker Ding Jun Hui.

Embarrassing Tennis Memory: Working as a ball boy at Shanghai Heineken Open. But lost my job after only a few days. Because I was so focused on playing video games and missed my shift [smiles].

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Green tea.

Funniest Players Encountered: Let me catch my mind… funniest… Chinese player Bai Yan. And outside of Chinese at the moment… I haven’t really met a funny one.

Favorite Tournament: Shanghai Masters.

People Qualities Most Admired: I like to see some people serious in their works and then outside of their works, more relaxed, medium, not very different.

Zhizhen Zhang ATP profile page

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