Taiwan Wimbledon star turns to English tea

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei. (Reuters pic)

LONDON: Taiwan’s top tennis star reckons a traditional English afternoon tea can fire her all the way to another Wimbledon doubles title.

Hsieh Su-Wei has her heart set on a few scones topped with lashings of jam and cream and a steaming hot pot of tea – and nothing will stop her.

Hsieh is in the women’s doubles semi-finals at the All England Club with partner Barbora Strycova, who faces Serena Williams in the Wimbledon singles semi-finals on Thursday.

But as Strycova does battle on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, her doubles partner will be doing battle on the edge of Wimbledon Common – with a plate of cucumber sandwiches.

“I’m looking forward on Thursday to going for afternoon tea. Please give me a day off so I can go for afternoon tea!” said Hsieh.

“There’s an afternoon tea place not far from here, it’s an amazing place to have it. It’s on my must-do list,” she told AFP.

Watch out, Serena

Hsieh and Strycova play top seeds Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in the doubles semi-finals on Friday.

And Hsieh has her training and nutrition programme all planned out.

“The plan is… afternoon tea. It’s my energy!” the 33-year-old said.

On paper, Strycova is up against it facing Williams – but her sidekick on the tennis court said the unseeded Czech could cause an upset.

“My partner is on fire,” said Hsieh.

“It’s incredible what happened to Barbora getting to two semi-finals.

“Serena, we all know, is very tough; one of the greatest players.

“But Barbora’s doing amazing on grass, so I’m not worried about her.

“She deserves it because she works really hard.”

Hsieh has played with Strycova for most of this year and said her partner would typically be exercising before matches and in the gym afterwards.

“She has a really good sense of humour. Off the court she is very polite and respectful,” Hsieh added.

The Taiwanese won the 2013 Wimbledon women’s doubles title with China’s Peng Shuai.

Different kit, different strokes

Hsieh said her rare double-handed forehand and backhand style was down to her being a skinny child and starting playing with a heavy adult racquet at the age of five.

On the court, Hsieh wears a mish-mash of self-bought gear because she is one of the very few players without a sponsor.

She said she did not have an agent, having stopped working with a previous manager as promotional work was getting in the way of her sports-mad schedule.

Besides tennis, the high-energy player does fitness work, training, hiking, swimming, badminton and even baseball.

She has never replaced her agent and therefore has not signed any sponsorship arrangements.

“I cannot handle it because I think it’s difficult to make a deal. There’s a lot of tricky points,” she said.

“I’m proud of my decision because I’m doing good.”