Whole new ballgame

Updated: 2013-01-14 21:11

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

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His coach has no complaints.

"All this sudden attention is good for him," David Moreau said. "If you are nobody, people aren't scared of you. If they know, the young guy is coming from China and he went up 300 places (in the rankings) and he won the national championship and Open wild card, it's different. I want his opponents to know that. I want them to think this is a serious player and that they must not underestimate him.

"He must give 100 percent, but also make sure he enjoys the ride. I know he has the capacity to win (at this level) but he needs to relax. If he thinks too much, he will be stiff and not get the breaks. If he gives everything, I am confident."

Moreau's belief in Wu comes from the six weeks they spent in France during the offseason.

Wu hit 5,000 serves in the grinding camp and didn't rest a single day during four solid weeks in chilly Dijon, a small town 270 kilometers from Paris.

The new surroundings, bereft of Chinese faces and familiar food, provided Wu with the opportunity to acclimate to the life of a professional player.

"I used to be a little bit lazy and couldn't settle down to practice alone," he said. "This time there was only me, David and the balls. I had nothing to do but practice and then face all the stuff off the court. I think I'd better get used to the travel in the future."

Once a playful teenager who took his Winnie the Pooh bear everywhere for good luck and was shy facing the media, Wu is now a more mature player who can handle foreign media interviews in simple English.

"He's been able to make some real conversation about tennis and other things with me. I am not worried about this. I can leave him alone with the media. He's smart," Moreau said.

As for the plan against first-round opponent Ivan Dodig of Croatia, Moreau said Wu's mobility could provide an edge.

"(Dodig) has a very good serve," he said. "He fights well behind the baseline. But he is not as creative as Wu. He is a fighter and will battle every shot. And Wu has to be smart enough to make him run."

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