ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals)

Mien-Chinese American amateur challenges ‘crybaby’ Nick Kyrgios and wants to teach ‘wannabe pro a lesson’ as pair duel on Twitter

Sacramento-based Sen Chao has been trolling the Australian and asking for a match after his ‘nonchalant and bored’ performance at the China Open

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 April, 2018, 9:20am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 April, 2018, 9:20am

An ethnic Iu Mien-Chinese American – a part-time gamer and amateur tennis player – is challenging Australian Nick Kyrgios to a match “to teach him a lesson on how to behave on court” as the pair exchange barbs on Twitter.

Sen Chao, whose parents were refugees in the mountains of Thailand before settling in the United States, and world No 24 Kyrgios have been at each others’ throats on social media over the past few weeks.

Sen, from Sacramento, California, has been goading Kyrgios with videos of his tennis skills – much to the annoyance of the Australian who one time tweeted: “These videos are embarrassing bro, stop playing and kidding yourself. Don’t mention me on twitter again.”

Sen told the Post he started to troll Kyrgios after his loss to Rafael Nadal in last year’s China Open final, saying the player known for his fiery temper let the fans down by not trying.

“It started last year when I saw this crybaby at the China Open thinking he’s too good for the game,” said Sen, 29, who has played college-level tennis. “Acting bored, nonchalant. Even when he beat my favourite player in the world, Roger Federer.

“That’s when I discovered my passion for the game [has returned]. I had to call him out for not playing the game the right way. And now I have to play him. One on one. So I can teach this wannabe pro player a lesson.”

Despite his on-court reputation, Kyrgios is a popular player among fans. He regularly gives his time at big events to mix with kids and underprivileged fans and is involved in a number of charities.

He recently spent some time with survivors of the horrific Parkland high school shooting in Florida where 17 people were killed.

Even though he writes “I hate Kyrgios” in his Twitter profile, Sen acknowledges that there is a fun aspect to it – though he is determined to play the Aussie and beat him.

And Kyrgios, in what appears to be a lighthearted tweet, reacted to a video of Sen hitting backhands by saying: “For those of you wondering, this is the man that has repeatedly called me out for the last two weeks, maybe I do have to be on my game.”

Iu Mien are an ethnic group from southern China who fled the mainland because of persecution and settled mostly in Vietnam, with many also moving on to Thailand and Laos.

Sen described his family as “refugees” who left Thailand in the 80s and settled in the United States before he was born. He said his grandfather fought for the American special forces during the Vietnam war.

“It wasn’t safe, so my parents saved money and booked a plane ticket here in the ‘80s,” said Sen, who was born in Oroville, California. “The entire family came over, my grandparents, parents and two sisters. It was a very hard life.

“I lived in a Mien community who never accepted me but I learned sports through them. And my next door neighbour. My childhood friend. My brother.

“I always felt like I never belonged growing up. I wanted to be white so the kids would stop making fun of me and how I looked and talked.”

Sen said he excelled at tennis at American River College and Sacramento State but stopped for a few years until Kyrgios re-lit the fire in his belly at the China Open.

“I started again last year, that’s when I saw Nick,” said Sen. “I never seen a player like him before. I mean I don’t dislike him but I hate how he plays the game.

“A lot of kids I play with act like him on the court. So I want to teach him a lesson.”

Sen is determined to continue practising even though there is no guarantee of a clash with Kyrgios.

“Maybe we can play for a charitable cause,” said Sen. “I know he works hard to help kids and raise money for charities.

“I mean, it’s ultimately up to him. I would love to ask him again after a loss,” he said jokingly. “Because I know that’s what gets him going.”

Sen is also an amateur gamer, but said he is putting that to one side for now so he can concentrate on tennis.

In their latest exchange, Kyrgios jokingly wrote he’d be available after Wimbledon – adding that he was giving Sen more time to prepare. However, later the Australian said “let’s just stop this nonsense now”, telling Sen to improve his game and they can meet head to head at a pro tournament.