Tennis has never been a predominantly male sport, despite the fact that there is some sort of a bigger emphasis on huge tennis stars like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and recently on Carlos Alcaraz and the likes. Women have always been there and they have always stood out, making their presence not only heard and seen all over the world, but echoed across time as well.
Female tennis players have now grown so big in the sport, giving stunning performances and competing in matches that are becoming blockbusters, often monopolizing the interest of fans in the major tennis tournaments of the world. And Asian female tennis players are beginning to shine, paving the way for more girls and young athletes to be inspired.
In fact Asian women in tennis are now so popular that they are parading at the forefront of every bookmaker or every Malaysia betting site featuring a rich tennis betting agenda, including women’s singles and doubles not just in the big, major tournaments like Grand Slams, but in smaller regional competitions as well.
Let’s see the top three Asian female tennis players that have been an inspiration for younger athletes and who have greatly contributed to the growth of tennis popularity amongst Asian women.
Li Na – China
There is no need for a special introduction for Li Na, the Chinese big tennis star that has won two Grand Slams in her professional tennis career. Li Na has a total of nine high profile titles, including the Roland Garros (French Open) in 2011 and the Australian Open, three years later, in 2014. That year, Li Na achieved her all time career-high position, becoming the No 2 seed in the world ranking.
What is striking about Li Na is that she had been the first Asian woman to win a Slam – in fact the first Asian athlete overall to win one of the major tournaments in tennis. This prompted a surge in fans’ interest and a growing number of young girls entering the sport.
Li Na’s popularity has been spurred by her achievements, more than her character or personality on the court – unlike some other players who have been gathering the eyes of the public not only with their skills, but with their hot temper as well.
Li Na’s impact on both the sport and the Asian deeper penetration to tennis has been glorified by the world press. In 2013 the Time Magazine included her in the list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, predominantly for her achievement in increasing Asian people’s exposure to the sport and in creating the grounds for a better CTA (Chinese Tennis Association).
Naomi Osaka – Japan
Following the steps of Li Na, Naomi Osaka became the next most famous Asian tennis player in the world. Her achievements have gone past that of Li Na, particularly in terms of ranking and championships. Osaka has won four Grand Slams, two US Open and two Australian Open Championships and has a total of seven titles in her professional career.
But what is even more impressive is that Osaka is the first Asian women to have reached the No. 1 position in the WTA. This, along with her activist stance and her spoken-out battle with depression, were three predominant reasons that she has been included 3 times in the Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World – in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Zheng Qinwen – China
Qinwen is the newest kid on the block. In fact she began her professional tennis career in 2018, but what’s really surprising is that last year – 2022 – she managed to climb over more than 100 positions and landed on the Top 25, after a remarkable performance and a stunning winning streak.
Zheng Qinwen has not yet won a big title, but she was named the WTA’s Newcomer of the Year 2022, which directly put her on the spot. And that’s only fair, considering that she has been showcasing exceptional tennis skills, a solid and focused personality on court and an absolutely astonishing dedication to go as far as she can only imagine.
People expect much from Zheng Qinwen and she is generally anticipated to reach the top seed. She is young, devoted, determined and above all she is an Asian female player that has come to turn the world of tennis upside down. We haven’t yet seen what she can actually do, but stay tuned because there are a lot of things waiting for us around the corner.