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From fat kid to China’s greatest star: How Yibing Wu began his tennis career

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UTS Team
LA 2023

We’ve all heard the stories of famous tennis players getting started in the sport.

A child was tagging along with their father who used to clean the tennis courts. One day they were absent mindedly swinging a tennis racquet. Their abundant talent and eloquence was spotted by some benevolent passerby, and the rest is history. Or something like that.

Well, the origin story of Yibing Wu, one of the eight players at UTS Los Angeles, is not so glamorous.

He got into tennis because he was fat.

“I was the fattest of my kindergarten” – Yibing Wu on his humble beginnings

Known as ‘The Great Wall’ when he steps onto the UTS courts, China’s Yibing Wu hasn’t always been the imposing athlete that he is now.

As the 23-year-old explains, he got into the sport for a very relatable reason.

“I first started playing tennis when I’m four years old because I’m a little fat,” explained Wu. “At that time, I was the fattest of my kindergarten.”

“So my father, he was a boxer and he took me to some training facilities to do some sports,” Wu continued. “At the beginning I choose to play badminton, but the net was too high and I’m too short.

“But when we’re trying to walk out from the facility we saw the tennis courts, and the tennis courts really liked me, the net is not too high, and that’s how I start tennis.”

The rise of ‘The Great Wall’

While Yibing Wu may have entered tennis for very humble reasons, his career has reached dizzying heights already.

Earlier this year, Wu became the first ever Chinese man to win an ATP Tour title. The trophy was lifted at the Dallas Open in Texas, where the 23-year-old defeated Denis Shapovalov and John Isner to win his debut title on the indoor courts.

This title helped propel Wu to his career high of No 57 in the world, which is the highest a Chinese man has ever been ranked in history.

As part of UTS Los Angeles, Wu has his sights set on making even more tennis history for China. The big hitter has an excellent attacking game, with a dominant forehand that will be a lethal weapon in the faster format of UTS.Wu will need all the firepower he can get, if he’s to overcome his fellow Group A rivals in Taylor ‘The Hotshot’ Fritz, Nick ‘King’ Kyrgios and Diego ‘El Peque’ Schwartzman on July 21 to 23 in Los Angeles.

  • July 21st : Yibing “The Great Wall” Wu Vs Diego “El Peque” Schwartzman
  • July 21st : Yibing “The Great Wall” Wu Vs Taylor “The Hotshot” Fritz
  • July 22nd : Yibing “The Great Wall” Wu Vs Nick “King Kyrgios” Kyrgios

Players in this article

The Great Wall

Wu Yibing