A NT$2 million (US$66,400) fund was set up in the name of Taiwanese tennis star Hsieh Su-wei yesterday to encourage local tennis development and build on her recent victory in the women’s doubles at Wimbledon. Half of the fund’s money was put up by Chinese Taipei Tennis Association chairman Liao Yu-hui, while the rest came from Hsieh’s father, Hsieh Tzu-lung.
The fund will be used to cultivate talented young players by covering their training fees and travel expenses for overseas tournaments, the two men said. Hsieh Tzu-lung said he hoped similar actions could be taken by others to improve tennis development in Taiwan, amid speculation he has helped fan that his daughter could accept an endorsement deal to play for China.
Hsieh Tzu-lung confirmed that a liquor company from China’s Qinghai Province has offered his daughter 10 million Chinese yuan (US$1.63 million) to become a citizen of the People’s of Republic of China (PRC) and play on behalf of the province.
The offer was made after Hsieh became the first Taiwanese to win a Grand Slam tennis title after she and partner Peng Shuai of China won the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon on Saturday.
Hsieh Tzu-lung said the deal had to be considered because the NT$1.5 million a year his daughter gets in sponsorship deals from Taiwanese companies is not nearly enough to cover the between NT$4 million and NT$5 million she spends annually on travel and training expenses.
Feeling the pressure, Taiwanese entrepreneurs agreed on Monday to pledge NT$200 million to a platform that will sponsor top local athletes. Hsu An-hsuan, chairman of Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Co, added his name on Tuesday to the list of those willing to help, saying he would be interested in talking about a potential sponsorship for Hsieh and her tennis-playing siblings with her agent.
In response to the moves, Hsieh Tzu-lung said his daughter would not play for China if she were to get funding from more local sponsors, but he also stressed that no decision has been made because the family has yet to receive firm offers.