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Former Longhorn Lulu Sun Is Making History for New Zealand at Wimbledon

Former Longhorn Lulu Sun Is Making History for New Zealand at Wimbledon

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday July 6, 2024

Meet Lulu Sun, the trilingual World No.123, who came from qualifying to become the first player from New Zealand to reach the second week of Wimbledon in the Open Era. Sun is also the first woman representing New Zealand to reach the fourth round of any major since Belinda Cordwell made the 1989 Australian Open semifinals.

Tennis Express

The 23-year-old, who played college tennis at the University of Texas, has a Chinese mother and a dad from Croatia.

She decided to play for New Zealand this year, after getting a warm welcome from fans of her home nation in Auckland.

It hasn’t taken her long to start making history for her nation, she switched nationalities in March and is playing in her first Grand Slam main draw as a Kiwi.

“That is something that definitely doesn’t come by often, and I’m super grateful to be in this situation,” Sun said. “You know, I feel definitely the support through the people and through Tennis New Zealand, and I’m super happy and grateful each round to be able to be here.”

These days, Sun spends her time in Florida and Slovakia (where her current coach, Vladimir Platenik resides).

She was born in New Zealand “in a town with more sheep and deer than people,” then moved to Shanghai, before relocating to Switzerland.

A citizen of the world, Sun knocked out China’s Zheng Qinwen for her first career Top-10 win in the first round at Wimbledon (it was her first main draw win at a Grand Slam as well, and her first Top-100 win too), and has since proceeded to reach the second week, where she will face Great Britain’s Emma Raducanu, a player that is actually ranked 12 spots lower than her at No.135.

“She’s, obviously, been far in the Grand Slams before, and she’s, I’m pretty sure, Wimbledon’s favorite since she’s from here,” Sun said. “But, I don’t know, playing on Centre and playing against her is an opportunity that I would be happy to play.”

Sun, a southpaw with seven career WTA wins to her name, will be the underdog against the 2021 US Open champion, but she may yet have room to run at this Wimbledon.

“I wasn’t expecting to be here at this stage, but I’ve just been playing match-by-match. But yeah, here I am,” she said.

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