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Peng Shuai dreams big after Grand Slam breakthrough

Updated: 2013-07-30 14:22
( Xinhua)

DALIAN, Northeastern China - Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai is dreaming of more success in future after having notched up her first Grand Slam title earlier this month at Wimbledon.

Peng, who is now playing at the Chinese National Games in north China's Dalian, was still in a happy mood while talking about the victory.

"It's really a big surprise and it gave me more confidence. I think I was not a brave one, and my coach says to me that I should've been brave like this before. The win is huge and now I think I can be the brave one while playing big matches," said the 27-year-old Peng on Tuesday.

"The win is not just a win, it gave us experience. I hope it's not the end of my Grand Slam successes."

Peng Shuai dreams big after Grand Slam breakthrough

Peng Shuai of China (R) and Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan kiss their winners trophies after defeating Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Casey Dellacqua of Australia in their women's doubles final tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London, July 6, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

Having first played together as teenagers, Peng teamed up with Hsieh Su-wei to win their first Grand Slam title with a 7-6 (1), 6-1 victory over Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua in the women's doubles final.

Hsieh became the first player from Chinese Taipei to win a Grand Slam title, while Peng gave China its first women's doubles title at a major in seven years.

The pair, who are both 27, played a few tournaments together as amateurs but ended their partnership after turning pro. After a seven-year hiatus, Hsieh asked Peng at the 2008 US Open if she would be up for a renewed association.

The duo reunited by the end of that year and won their first 11 matches, claiming titles in Bali and Sydney. They lost their opening-round match in the 2009 Australian Open against Serena and Venus Williams but now have six titles together.

"We are close friends. We play together, we spend money together, and even share same clothes. We played together for so many times at Wimbledon, but this year it's the first time that we stood on the Center Court and at last we won. The triumph is so emotional and it tastes sweet. They say we would be still happy when we talk about it at 60 years old," Peng recalled.

"One of our aims will be the WTA Championships. It's the yearending tournament, which is a compliment for the year's best players, hopefully we can land it," said Peng. The pair is now placed fourth on the Race Rankings.

Peng is a singles player, but it's weird that she never claims a singles title since she turned pro in 2001, making it into five finals but all falling short.

The Chinese girl, who has wrapped up nine doubles titles in the WTA tour, was eager to win a singles title. "I used to be very close to winning a tournament, but then I slumped because of my injuries. Now I feel robust again and it seems my body is in a top form, so I'm really looking forward to beating my opponent if I can reach another final."

For Chinese players, the National Games has so special meaning that most of the players have to come back from world tennis to homeland, risking dropping points on the world rankings and sustaining more injuries.

"The National Games is a quadrennial event, which is important to me. Of course there're more events, more matches and more pressure at the Games, but it's what we have to do, to give it back to those who used to help me a lot. I think it's the same to other Chinese players."

Peng holds a record as the player with the most gold medals won at a National Games, bagging all four titles she competed for at last Games held in East China's Shandong province four years ago.

This year Peng has defended three of them, namely women's team and doubles and mixed doubles. Now she is just one match away, a women's singles final against her teammate Duan Yingying, from defending all four titles.