Up-and-coming tennis youngster Ng Kwan-yau takes inspiration from US Open champ Sloane Stephens as she seeks to make impact at Hong Kong Tennis Open
The 20-year-old is using the incredible performance by Sloane Stephens in New York as inspiration for a run at Victoria Park
Hong Kong youngster Ng Kwan-yau is determined to make the most of her shot at making the main draw for the upcoming Hong Kong Tennis Open after being handed a coveted wild card slot to enter the qualifiers at Victoria Park.
“I’m aiming to qualify for the main draw, and I’m confident,” said Ng.
As well she should be. Hong Kong’s young players have performed excellently this term, and the 20-year-old was an integral part of the city’s heroic Fed Cup team that secured a superb promotion to group one of the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania zone with victory in Tajikistan earlier this year.
“I was involved with the great performances at the Fed Cup and it was good to see that we could overcome hard opponents,” she said.
“It made me more confident in Hong Kong tennis. The standards are improving all the time.”
Hong Kong overcame an early deficit to claim a 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan to secure their promotion.
Despite an excellent team performance in Central Asia, Ng was quick to pay tribute to the Hong Kong Tennis Association (HKTA), where she says standards have improved dramatically in recent times.
“There’s so much hard work being done,” she said. “There’s been much improvement from the HKTA, with improved coaching and facilities.
“There are always talented young players coming through.
“We’re seeing more and more good results, and the boys are winning medals, too.”
Strong showings at the World University Games in Taiwan where Hong Kong picked up a bronze medal in the men’s doubles, and more recently at the Asian Indoor Games where another men’s duo grabbed bronze, have put Hong Kong tennis on the map, at least regionally, and have given young players such as Ng the confidence to aim high.
“My short-term goal is to break into the top 300 in the world next year,” said Ng.
Another source of inspiration for young players was the grand slam-winning performance from American Sloane Stephens in New York last month.
Stephens, who is set to compete in Hong Kong next month, put an injury-devastated 12 months behind her on an incredible run to her maiden major title at Flushing Meadows and instantly became a source of inspiration for young players trying to find their way at the foot of the world rankings.
“I’m so looking forward to seeing Sloane Stephens,” said Ng. “To do what she did at the US Open was amazing.
“What she did gives you a lot of confidence and makes you feel that anything is possible, and that you have that chance to improve so much if you work hard.”
But big goals can wait and, for now, the youngster is determined to enjoy a rare opportunity to play in front of friends and family in her home city.
“I don’t feel any pressure, I’m just going to enjoy it,” Ng said.
“I’ll enjoy playing in front of family and friends in Hong Kong as they don’t get to see me play often. I train outside Hong Kong a lot.”