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China’s Qinwen Zheng is rounding into form again after going back to racquet roots

Making changes to tennis racquets always sounds good in theory, but the reality can prove to be tricky.

Qinwen Zheng Mar 23, 2023; Miami, Florida, US; Qinwen Zheng (CHN) hits a forehand against Irena-Camelia Begu (ROU) (not pictured) on day four of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Players and their tennis racquets. They are creatures of habit and some can be like fish out of water when they’ve made changes to their gear. Add China’s Zheng Qinwen to that list.

She elected to change some of the specs of her racquet ahead of this season, in the quest for a more powerful frame, but ended up out of sync with her game and unable to put the ball in the court.

Three months later, she’s back with her same-old Wilson stick and happy that a turbulent, confidence-sapping period is behind her.

“I think I made one wrong choice with my racquet,” Zheng said after her third-round at the Miami Open, according to Courtney Nguyen, WTA Insider. “I tried to change some details to add more power. But at the end, I found out it wasn’t working for me because in Australia, the entire tournament I felt it was so difficult for me to control the ball.”

“I really tried, because I thought it was my problem”

Zheng, who won the WTA’s Newcomer of the year award in 2022, hasn’t been all that bad in 2023 – just not as good as she would like. She improved to 11-5 with her takedown of Liudmila Samsonova at Miami, and will face Anastasia Potapova for a spot in the quarter-finals on Monday in Miami.

Daniil Medvedev is another player who recently revealed that he had changed his strings in the quest for easier power this season. At first, Medvedev said, he was struggling mightily, but he stayed with the new strings and has since gone on a tear, winning three titles and claiming victory in 20 of his last 21 matches.

Zheng, for her part, didn’t want to continue the experiment. So she went back to what she knew and says she feels much better off.

“I really tried because I thought it was my problem at the beginning,” she said. “But when I came back to the old one, I felt much better.”

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