Asia has a new star in the making. Her name? Chun-Hsin Tseng.
Chinese Taipei’s #NextGenATP player has reached new heights over the past year, winning three ATP Challenger Tour titles, including two this season. This helped propel him to a career-high No. 83 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings.
Through a combination of hard work and natural talent, Tseng is now enjoying weekly success around the world. However, the road to the top has been far from easy, with the 21-year-old negotiating a series of hurdles to get to this point.
“At the beginning, it was hard, because we didn’t know anyone to play with. [in Chinese Taipei]”, Tseng admitted. “I learned to play in school. [National] The Federation helped me meet coaches and visit academies and clubs and I started to travel more and more. I went to an academy for three months every year during summer vacation. It got better and better, then at 13 I won the Petits As junior tournament and the Mouratoglou Academy found me and I trained there for four years.
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Tseng first picked up a racket at the age of five, when he played with his father, Yu Te (known as Ed), in the local courts of Chinese Taipei. With limited opportunities, the 21-year-old had to rely on the support of his parents, who both worked hard and made sacrifices to help their son achieve his dreams.
“My mom and dad used to run a food stall at Lehua Night Market in Taipei, selling fruit and sugar dessert. My mom was still doing the night market when I started my career and it was really hard for her to do it alone,” Tseng recalled. “It was so much work and it took a long time. She would do it from 5 p.m. there, but when I grew up and traveled there was no chance of doing both.
With Tseng’s mother helping to support him and his family off the pitch, it was the world No. 83’s father who supported Tseng.
“My dad is my biggest influence. There was one time I picked up the racquet myself and hit the ball over the net, and he was so surprised. He slowly started taking me to the courts every day and we played more and more,” Tseng said. “Now my father travels with me and is always by my side.”
Having established himself at Mouratoglou Academy at the age of 17, Tseng began to take his first major steps in the game, making his ATP Challenger Tour debut in 2018 at home in Taipei.
Results soon followed at Futures level, with Tseng winning three Futures titles in 2018. His results left him in the Top 500, before going 60-42 across the board in 2019 and 2020 to leave him in the Top 300.
However, the road to the top is never easy and that proved true for Tseng, who struggled to find his consistent best in 2021, prompting him to make a change.
“In October and November 2021, I was very down on myself,” Tseng admitted. “I played four weeks in a row and lost every game with at least two match points. I was also struggling with my ranking. I was around 280 [in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings] for two years already. But I changed my coach in October, for Benny (Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh), who was the head coach of the Mouratoglou Academy.
“He was with me before and we started again in October at his new academy in Germany. From there my game improved and I felt more comfortable on the court. I was more aggressive and relaxed and we did a short training to prepare for the last two tournaments of the year in Maia, Portugal, that’s where I won my first Challenger title, if you don’t have an obstacle or a difficult moment , you don’t know how you feel. It helped me get to know myself better on the pitch and off the pitch. It was a very important time.”
With regained confidence and momentum, Tseng continued into 2022. The 20-year-old is currently eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan and looks set to make his debut at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November. it can continue to give good results.
He feels that the experiences he has had throughout the season have put him in a good position to continue his progress in the months to come.
“After my first title in a Challenger in Maia, I believed that I could do something on the Tour and I started to know my game better and use my weapons better,” Tseng said when discussing his game. “I found my rhythm and I knew I could break through. This Challenger I will remember the most because he helped my confidence when I was really down, and that was very important mentally.
“I was happy to get the wild card for the  Australian Open, but I had COVID just before and did seven days of quarantine before my game. It was not such a good experience for the first time in the main draw of a Grand Slam. But I enjoyed the atmosphere there. And I was happy to win my next Challenger tournament in India [in Bengaluru]. I believed in myself that I could do it, and on clay too, when I won in Murcia in Spain. I didn’t expect it, but I’m working as hard as I can and doing my best on the pitch.
As Tseng eyes main draw appearances at Tour-level events in the future, he looks set to follow in the footsteps of Japan’s Kei Nishikori and become a constant presence in Asian tennis on the Tour for years to come.
Get to know Tseng
Tennis idol: Kei Nishikori. We are both Asian and he is one of the best players in Asia. And I think we have a very similar style of play. When I was young, I really wanted to look like him and play like him.
Hobby: During COVID, before tournaments resumed, I tried to learn piano. I love music and my mother has a very good friend who is a piano teacher. She said that if I didn’t want to play tennis, I would be a very good pianist. I learned for only seven days and I could already play a song, so I’m not bad.
Favorite food: In Taiwan, the food is amazing and so cheap. If you want different styles, we have it all. The hot pot is my favorite. It is a hot soup with meat and vegetables inside. I also like chicken curry.
Biggest passion outside of tennis: I like all sports. Basketball, baseball, badminton, billiards, table tennis. I really like baseball. It’s hard to play, because it takes 18 people, but I like throwing. I travel with a glove and I throw with it [countryman] Tony Wu when we’re together. The Rakuten baseball team in Taiwan is my favorite and Shohei Ohtani is my favorite athlete. The only sport I don’t like is golf. I was awful.
Invite two famous people to dinner: Chinese singers Jay Chou and GEM My favorite music is Chinese pop.