London: If the fan comments on Wimbledon’s website are anything to go by then Asia has found its new tennis superstar in Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun.
“I can’t believe it! You totally rock, Lu! Fantastic game, my Taiwanese hero,” said one overwhelmed supporter after Lu sprang the shock of the tournament by beating fifth seed Andy Roddick in the fourth round on Monday.
“Hard working deserves the sweet fruit. We are always proud of you, Lu, number one in Asia,” opined another.
Fans were running out of superlatives in their blog postings on the Lu Yen-hsun player profile page on Tuesday.
“Now I know why you always point to the sky after a match,” wrote one fan, revelling in the victory that reduced the softly spoken Lu to tears.
For his father had died 10 years before Lu found his biggest success at the world’s most famous tournament at the All England Club.
A victory over Andy Murray at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing had been the 26-year-old’s career highlight before bursting through on a baking afternoon on Wimbledon’s Court Two.
Lu, the underdog who won over a whole legion of new fans with his victory on the hallowed turf, sat sobbing in his chair after Monday’s five-set epic against the three-times finalist.
“I’m really upset because my father’s already pass away. I make this result. I am really proud myself to share this victory with him in the sky,” Lu told reporters in his halting English afterwards.
There is no doubting the self-belief of the first Asian man to reach a grand slam quarter-final since Japan’s Shuzo Matsuoka at Wimbledon in 1995.
No Asian man has ever made it to the semi finals of a grand slam, and next up for the Taiwanese giant-killer is number three seed Novak Djokovic on Wednesday.
Lu, who has been working with Australian doubles great Mark Woodforde since last year, admitted the Serb is “a very great player” but said: “I can tell you if I have a chance to step on the court, I will fight to the end.”
His surreal post-match press conference also revealed that he picked ‘Randy’ as his first name.
Lu explained that his English teacher in Taiwan had asked him to pick out a name more easily pronounceable to a western ear.
“So that’s why I pick. But I don’t know the meaning actually,” he said, smiling broadly.