Wu Yibing becomes first Chinese man to reach the US Open third round since 1881
As a boy, Ye Shikun learned that victory was a way to help his family survive in the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. No matter how the battle ended for the United States, there would always be a family to take the next step after the victory, to live, and to live without fear.
Less than three decades later, Ye is finally at a point in his career where that challenge begins. In March, he became only the second person in the Open era to reach the third round of a major. His first opponent, Henrik Stenson of Norway, already holds the record for the most victories at any Grand Slam. However, neither is in the same position as Ye in terms of seeding or experience.
But Ye, 35, is a man who has overcome the odds. After graduating from South China’s Beijing Normal University (also his hometown), he moved to New York in 2006 at the age of 26. While seeking a job, he enrolled in the business school at NYU, and when he graduated in 2011, he left New York with a plan to teach English in the Philippines. Instead, he became a full-time tennis coach.
“I was very lucky. I met a lot of good people. I have a lot of friends,” Ye said in an interview with the New York Times.
In order to win the opportunity in the United States, Ye has won one of the most difficult competitions in tennis history: he reached the round of 16 at Australian Open (2013), won the qualifying tournament, then lost to Marcos Baghdatis in the second round. But it is also an opportunity that he could not have come by his first grand slam win. In 2010, he finished third in the Asia Open in Taiwan.
“Tennis is my everything. I’ve worked very hard for so many years, and now I’ve finally reached this moment in my career,” he said.
Ye’s journey from China to the United States is not very different from many young Chinese tennis players who moved to America to pursue their dreams.
Wu Yibing became the