London | As I sat in the media area in Roehampton, site of Wimbledon’s ‘qualifiers’, Carol Chow was still struggling to describe the emotions that inhabited her. At 28, the age at which some players consider retirement, the Canadian was finally enjoying her first Grand Slam tournament qualification.
“I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on! They fired the stubborn Ontarian register. There are so many feelings inside me.
It is that Zhao – who is also a singer – did not go down the usual path of a tennis player. Instead of going pro too young, she chose the NCAA college circuit, where she excelled. And on her professional debut, she quickly hit 131H world ranking, which to this day remains his best rated. She is currently 166 years oldH.
But there was a shoulder injury, which kept the 5’6″ diminutive off the field for a year and a half. After that, COVID-19 slowed its progression on the WTA chessboard.
A dream come true
She has tried her luck at the Grand Slam several times in recent years. But each time, she was shown the exit door before she reached her final goal.
So, “absolutely” that this qualification for Wimbledon is a dream come true, Zhao, who develops most of the time on the ITF circuit, smiled in the WTA waiting room.
“Basically, this is only my third real year on the circuit,” she points out. “But the older I get, the more I realize there are many players who deserve their place at these big tables. And that makes it all the more special.”
and finally the All England Club
What is also special is that the qualifiers for Wimbledon do not take place at the All England Club. They are played instead at the Roehampton Tennis Centre, about a 10-minute drive from tennis’ most legendary courts.
On Thursday, in that crucial third-round match against American Coco Vandeweghe (which she won 7-6(4) 6-4), Zhao was playing in front of about a dozen people sitting directly on the grass. Eat a sandwich while sipping Coca-Cola.
Starting Monday, the Canadian will enter the prestigious All England Club through the front door. “Here, when you win qualifying, you really feel like you’re changing levels,” she said. So I’m really excited to live the experience.
To highlight his qualifications, the organizers presented him with a small trophy. Of course it would be very ambitious for Zhao to aim for the big decoration at the end of the fortnight. But she confirms this: even if you had a dream on Thursday, “the work has just begun.”
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