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June 24, 2017

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Tennis ace Hsieh refutes rumors of move to mainland

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwanese tennis ace Hsieh Su-Wei (謝淑薇) yesterday refuted rumors that she will play for mainland China in the future.

Hsieh posted on her Facebook that she has "no plans to change my nationality," stressing that "the rumors cannot be believed!"

Ever since Hsieh and her mainland Chinese partner Peng Shuai captured the Wimbledon women's doubles title last year, there have been rumors of mainland China's attempt to acquire Hsieh's allegiance with generous offers.

In part responding to such rumors, Hsieh joked in her Facebook post that "(going over to) China has become such a cliche. Why not pick any other nation this time?! How about Bhutan?!"

The tennis player's comments came one day after her father, Hsieh Tzu-lung (謝子龍), dismissed the rumors as baseless.

National Inspiration

Hsieh was hailed as a national inspiration on Monday after securing her second Grand Slam title with victory in the women's doubles at the French Open.

Hsieh and her Chinese playing partner followed up last year's heroics at Wimbledon by easily beating Italian duo Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-1 in the Roland Garros final.

It was Taiwan's first French Open title, with the island's president and numerous government ministers lining up to offer congratulations and heap praise on the 28-year-old Hsieh.

"We were very impressed when she clinched the Wimbledon title last year. Now this fresh championship further inspires and encourages us all," President Ma Ying-jeou was quoted by his spokeswoman as saying.

Reports of the triumph adorned the front pages of Taiwan's four major Chinese-language newspapers, accompanied by photographs of the top-ranked duo kissing the trophy.

The Apple Daily carried a full-page report while the story led the news bulletins of local television networks and social media users took to Twitter-like PTT to laud the win.

Top Team

Vice President Wu Den-yih, Premier Jiang Yi-huah and Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling all sent messages of congratulations to Hsieh who tops the women's doubles world rankings along with Peng.

Sunday's victory marked their 12th Women's Tennis Association titles together.

"We're very happy we did very well this time, especially under the pressure (that) we'd keep the seat of world number one," Hsieh said in Paris after the match.

Hsieh's father Hsieh Zi-lung told Taiwan television that he "could not sleep the whole night" because of the excitement of watching his daughter secure a second major doubles title.

Hsieh became Taiwan's first tennis world number one when she joined Peng at the top of the rankings last month.

The pair, born four days apart in January 1986, beat Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua to win the 2013 Wimbledon title.

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