Wimbledon 2015

Cross-strait friends talk sport, not politics

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 1:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

China's Peng Shuai and Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan have forged a tennis doubles partnership that bridges the divide between the two sides, saying sport can take the heat out of tough situations.

The pair, who play in the Wimbledon women's doubles semi-finals today, say their partnership is all about firm friendship - and they leave the political stuff to others.

Peng and Hsieh, born four days apart in January 1986, have been mates since their junior days and won the first of their five tour titles together back in 2008.

Their closeness has endured and the warmth between the 27-year-olds is obvious, with the pair constantly laughing and joking in each other's company.

"After a long time playing together, we still have some tough days; sometimes I will not play really good, sometimes her. We have to help each other and we both try together," Peng said.

We have good times and winning tournaments makes us really happy. She's working very hard. If we don't fight there will be no problem!

"If we don't fight there will be no problem

"We have good times and winning tournaments makes us really happy."

Hsieh added: "She plays most of the court and I stay by the sidelines! She's working very hard.

"If we don't fight there will be no problem," she joked.

Peng said: "We speak the same language and we've known each other and been friends since we were young. We have fun and we really enjoy our tennis.

"I also love going to Taiwan and after Wimbledon she will come to Beijing."

Peng and Hsieh do not see the political divisions between their respective homelands, only what unites them in friendship and sport. "We never talk about the country stuff," Hsieh said.

Peng added: "I think it's too sensitive, the question of two countries or not. This, for us, we're not working for the government.

"Between us, it seems so easy: we're good friends, we're tennis players playing together and we will try our best on the court. Never mind about the country or not.

"It's good that sport can make some tough situations feel simple and easy."

Whether playing together or not, neither of them has ever reached the Wimbledon women's doubles semi-finals before.

The eighth seeds hugged as they beat Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-4, 7-5 on Wednesday on the 4,000-seater sunken Court Two.

They will play Japan's Shuko Aoyama and Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa, an unseeded pairing, in the semi-finals today.