Getting To Know... Chan Yung-Jan

Last week this 'warrior' was in the semis of the US Open doubles, this week she's the singles No.2 seed in Guangzhou.

Published September 13, 2010 12:00

Getting To Know... Chan Yung-Jan
Chan Yung-Jan

NEW YORK, NY, USA - Best known for her fine doubles results - which include nine Tour titles and two Grand Slam finals - 21-year-old Chan Yung-Jan has proven herself pretty handy on the singles court as well. This year she's on track for her fourth Top 100 finish in five years, and indeed is coming off her best singles performance at a major - a third round run at Flushing Meadows, where she was stopped by Caroline Wozniacki. Having been ranked as high as No.6 in doubles, she's currently No.77 in singles - and the No.2 seed at this week's Landsky Lighting Guangzhou International Women's Open.

We caught up with Yung-Jan (whose Western name is Latisha) during the US Open, where she reached the doubles semis with China's Zheng Jie.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Taichong in the middle of Taiwan and lived there until I was 10. But our home was destroyed in an earthquake so we moved to Taipei, and that's where I live now.

How did you get into tennis?
Both my parents played tennis. My dad, Chan Yuan-Liang, played in high school and my mum, Lin Hsueh-Chen, always played for fun. They would bring me to the courts every day and I would play around. I asked my dad if I could play because I thought it was funny how the ball flew when I hit it. I was six when I started lessons. Actually my sister, Chan Hao-Ching is playing on the ITF Circuit now - she's four years younger.

Tell us about your coaching history.
I started playing with my father as coach. When I was 15, I moved to the International Tennis Academy in Delray Beach, Florida, and when I was 18 I trained at the Mouratoglou Academy in Paris for a year. My dad continued to work with me during these times. Since the age of 19 I've trained mostly at Taipei University of Sport (NTSU) with my father as coach.

How do you describe your playing style?
I play an aggressive game with fast rhythm… sometimes serve and volley for more variety. I think my mental game is a strength but I need to work on my fitness. Aside from gym work and weights I swim. Actually, I was a swimmer from 6-10 and won a gold medal in Taichong State Competition. My swimming coach asked my parents to let me focus on swimming, and so my parents asked the coach to come to the courts to watch me play. After that the coach said I should stick with tennis!

If you could steal a shot from another player and make it your own, what would it be?
The serve of Pete Sampras.

Do you have a favorite surface?
I like hardcourts best.

Who travels with you?
My father is with me 60-70 percent of the time, sometimes my mom comes and sometimes the whole family!

Did you have a tennis idol when you were growing up?
When I was younger, my first idols were Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis. Now, I admire Justine Henin and Roger Federer.

What's your best tennis memory to date?
There are a few. Playing Serena Williams as a 16-year-old qualifier at the 2005 US Open. Reaching the doubles final at the Australian Open and Flushing Meadows in 2007. And playing the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.

How far did you go in your schooling?
I finished high school in Taipei county when I was 17. Now I'm in my fourth year at NTSU. I plan to graduate in June 2011 - if I complete all my exams!

If not tennis…
My mom was very strict about school work, and it was one of my dreams to be a doctor so I could help people around me.

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be?
Wow, this is hard because I've met all my idols already - Henin, Hingis, Federer, they are all around me at the Grand Slams. Non-tennis? Maybe Obama, that would be cool!

If you were stranded on a desert island and could take only one thing with you, what would it be?
There is wireless, or no? Then I'll bring my iPad!

What are your goals in tennis?
Short-term, to reach the Top 50 - actually I reached No.50 before, but I want to do better. Long term, I want to be Top 20 and win a Grand Slam.

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