Taiwan’s chance to win a medal in tennis at the Tokyo Olympic Games suffered a major blow after women’s doubles world No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei was ruled ineligible for the Games by the sport’s governing body.
The 34-year-old Hsieh announced in a Facebook post that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) had rejected her appeal to gain eligibility for next year’s COVID-19-delayed Olympics.
Hsieh said that even though her ranking qualified her for the Games, she was deemed ineligible due to “a mistake involving the Fed Cup” held in March.
Hsieh is ranked No. 66 in women’s singles and No. 1 in women’s doubles. Players ranked among the top 56 in singles and top 10 in doubles are eligible to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.
Although ranked outside the top 56 in singles, Hsieh’s ranking would have been enough to gain her entry into the singles draw, as no more than four players from the same country can qualify.
However, a player must take part in at least two Fed Cup events during the Olympic cycle.
Hsieh was to represent Taiwan in the Fed Cup in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in early March, but she ended up leaving without playing a match.
Defending her decision to leave, Hsieh wrote in her Facebook post that she had informed her coach before the competition that she would not be able to complete the tournament.
That decision and her withdrawal from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro after a blowup with a tennis official weighed heavily in the ITF’s decision.
In a letter sent to the Chinese Taipei Tennis Association (CTTA) on Oct. 14 — made public by Hsieh on Facebook — the ITF said that it deemed Hsieh ineligible for the Tokyo Games because she did not demonstrate sufficient commitment to competitions.
The letter specifically cited her absence from the Fed Cup and that she did not compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.
The ITF said that Hsieh had withdrawn on the morning of the first day of play in the Rio Games without providing sufficient information to justify her withdrawal.
Hsieh has had 10 career Fed Cup nominations and one Olympic appearance, according to ITF records.
Hsieh said that she pulled out from the singles and doubles in Rio after a heated argument with a Taiwanese delegation official, but she chose not to tell the ITF to avoid airing dirty laundry in public.
The Taiwanese tennis ace in August announced that she would not compete again this year citing an ankle injury and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hsieh’s highest ranking in the singles was No. 23 on Feb. 25, 2013.
In winning the 2013 Wimbledon women’s doubles title with Chinese partner Peng Shuai, she became the first player from Taiwan to win a Grand Slam of any kind.
She has three career Grand Slam doubles titles.
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