Fri, Jul 12, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Hsieh craving English afternoon tea to fuel title run

AFP, LONDON

Taiwan’s top tennis star reckons a traditional English afternoon tea can fire her all the way to another Wimbledon doubles title.

Hsieh Su-Wei has her heart set on a few scones topped with lashings of jam and cream, and a steaming hot pot of tea — and nothing will stop her.

Hsieh is in the women’s doubles semi-finals at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club with partner Barbora Strycova, who was yesterday to face Serena Williams in the women’s singles semi-finals.

However, as Strycova does battle on Centre Court, her doubles partner will be doing battle on the edge of Wimbledon Common — with a plate of cucumber sandwiches.

“I’m looking forward on Thursday to going for afternoon tea. Please give me a day off so I can go for afternoon tea,” Hsieh said. “There’s an afternoon tea place not far from here, it’s an amazing place to have it. It’s on my must-do list.”

Hsieh and Strycova play top seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in the doubles semi-finals today, and Hsieh has her training and nutrition program all planned out.

“The plan is: afternoon tea. It’s my energy,” the 33-year-old said.

On paper, Strycova is up against it facing Williams — but her partner on the tennis court said that the unseeded Czech could cause an upset.

“My partner is on fire,” Hsieh said. “It’s incredible what happened to Barbora getting to two semi-finals.”

“Serena, we all know, is very tough; one of the greatest players, but Barbora’s doing amazing on grass, so I’m not worried about her,” she said. “She deserves it, because she works really hard.”

Hsieh has played with Strycova for most of this year and said that her partner would typically be exercising before matches and in the gym afterward.

“She has a really good sense of humor. Off the court she is very polite and respectful,” Hsieh added.

The Taiwanese won the 2013 Wimbledon women’s doubles title with China’s Peng Shuai.

Hsieh said that her rare double-handed forehand and backhand style are due to her being a skinny child who started playing with a heavy adult racket at age five.

On court, Hsieh wears a mish-mash of self-bought gear, because she is one of the very few players without a sponsor.

She said that she did not have an agent, having stopped working with a previous manager as promotional work was getting in the way of her sports-mad schedule.

Besides tennis, the high-energy player does fitness work, training, hiking, swimming, badminton and even baseball.

She has not replaced her agent and therefore has not signed any sponsorship arrangements.

“I cannot handle it, because I think it’s difficult to make a deal. There’s a lot of tricky points,” Hsieh said. “I’m proud of my decision, because I’m doing good.”

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