Chinese grand slam doubles champion Yan Zi comes out of retirement to help organise Hong Kong Tennis Open
The former two-time grand slam doubles champion and mother of two has been given the post of assistant tournament director for next month's tournament
Two years after her retirement, China's tennis grand slam doubles champion Yan Zi is back in the game - not as a player, but as assistant tournament director for next month's Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open.
Yan, who made history by winning doubles titles at the 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon Championships with childhood friend Zheng Jie, is helping to raise the tournament's profile.
"Last year, I was in the spectator stand to support Zheng when she came to play," Yan said at a "Tennis Fun Fun Fun" promotional event organised by the Hong Kong Tennis Association (HKTA) at a shopping mall. "I have been a full-time housewife ever since announcing my retirement.
"A few months ago, the HKTA contacted me and asked if I could help organise the tournament. They wanted ideas from a player's perspective, as I know what players want more than other people." Yan, who married a Hongkonger in 2009 and is now a mother of two, will attend to all the players' needs.
She said her new role brought her a different insight to how tournaments are run. "I came [to this mall] to promote the competition and at the same time, to attract more parents to bring their kids and start playing tennis," she said.
"I don't find my duties too challenging as the key part will be sorting out all player-related issues during the tournament week. Right now I only need to attend some regular preparatory meetings to give recommendations."
Last year's Hong Kong Open marked the return of women's tennis to the city since 1993. "I benefited from major tournaments in the mainland in the early 2000s," said Yan.
"It gave us more exposure to top-level tennis. That gave us a chance to see how far we were from the top players, as we were not always qualified to play in overseas tournaments."