Debutant Wu impresses at Australian Open

Updated: 2013-01-15 23:48

By Sun Xiaochen in Melbourne (China Daily)

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Although his first major main draw run ended prematurely, Wu Di has impressed the tennis world with his future prospect.

Outsized and overpowered by most of his western opponents, the 1.73-meter Wu has earned respect on court with his agility, which has been considered as trademark quality of his game.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt, who beat Wu in straight sets at last year's Hopman Cup, the ITF World Mixed Team Championships, praised Wu's mobility.

"He is a good little player. He hits the ball well and he moves extremely well for his height," the 32-year-old said of Wu's strength after bowing out the first round at Melbourne.

"Because of his size, he's disadvantaged a little bit. But his ball striking is as good as most of the top 100 players, especially from the baseline. Obviously, he did well to win the Asian-Pacific wild card. I think it's just taking him a little bit of time. And he has to work on his serve a bit."

Wu's Asian counterpart Kei Nishikori, who stands 1.78m, also praised Wu.

"He's still young with a lot of potential. We maybe seem a little bit same in playing style. But he should play more pressure-free because he has nothing to lose (at a lower ranking)," said the Japanese, who will face Carlos Berlocq of Argentina in the second round on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Des Tyson, Wu's Australian mentor in the national junior team from 2006 to 2008, didn't agree that size will be an issue for his future development.

"Wu has other great qualities (than the power). He is a great competitor with world-class groundstroke forehand and backhand," said Tyson, who steered Aussies teenager Luke Saville to the boys' singles champion at the 2011 Wimbledon.

"The best aspect of Wu for me is his footwork, his agility around the court. The lack of the size, he will make up of other skills. He also has a good chance."