Wu Yibing becomes first Chinese man to reach the US Open third round since 1881
TOMMY THOMPSON | USA TODAY
It’s not often that the eyes of the world focus on a single country on any given day. But this is what happened to me this week. In the hours and days after the U.S. Open final was decided, China’s Andy Roddick, the most dominant male player of the modern era, became the first Chinese man to reach the main draw.
While a few other Americans got in, none have achieved the same historical success, longevity and fame. So this moment in history for Andy is very special, one that the world will be remembering for a long, long time to come.
The news was announced by Chinese tennis player Li Yang, who made the first on-court news conference of his long career at the United States Open final. It was not a surprise to anyone who has followed the trajectory of the game in China. It was a news conference for a very special man.
Andy Roddick, with his wife, Melissa, and their daughter, Madison, as he receives the trophy from P.J. Hire, chief executive of the U.S. Tennis Association. Photo by Jeff Kravitz/United States Open.
Roddick came to the U.S. Open ranked No. 1 in the world as a 19-year-old, with a win over then-No. 3 Gustavo Kuerten and a loss to then-No. 2 Stefan Edberg. He followed up that breakthrough by going undefeated for three sets in the first round, a performance that earned him a US Open wildcard.
For the remainder of his career, he has competed on his natural surface – grass – and won the title 10 times. He has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the world, and still is by many accounts.
As for the tournament, the U.S. Open was a year ago today. In 2009, Roddick won his record 10th title on his U.S. Open grass on Rod Laver Arena to become the first tennis player from China to win a major title.
The last time a Chinese tennis player made it to the main draw of a major tournament was in 1981 when Chen Jin