World No.7 Zheng Qinwen joined the WTA Insider Podcast to discuss how she's keeping her feet on the ground after her breakthrough run to her first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open. 

"The 'swag', I will say I am not there yet," Zheng said on the podcast. "I am still trying to find myself because it's still the beginning of the year and there's still a long time to go. 

"I am just trying to be myself, try to be humble, to not overthink too much."

Listen to the full interview below:

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The 21-year-old from China has engineered an exponential rise up the rankings on the Hologic WTA Tour over the last two seasons. She had yet to make her Top 100 debut when the 2022 season started, yet finished that year ranked No.25 and voted the WTA Newcomer of the Year. 

Her rise continued last year, where she won her first two WTA titles and made her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open. Again the locker room took notice, with her colleagues awarding her WTA Most Improved Player. 

A few months later, she was getting hugs from her idol, Li Na, and becoming the second Chinese woman to rank in the WTA's Top 10. It would be easy for it all to go to Zheng's head. But as she explains, she's too ambitious to get cocky. 

"I think that confidence is always deep inside me and when the tennis gets better and better, the confidence shows on court," Zheng said. "But sometimes, too much confidence is not good because when you arrive high, sometimes you drop harder. I try to keep that sentence in my mind. I need to find the balance with the confidence. 

"Now I'm in the position where confidence is good but at the same time keep my eyes clear."

Hot Shot: Zheng Qinwen thrills Zhuhai with one-handed backhand pass

For Zheng, tennis has been as much a tool for self-discovery as a profession. She discusses the culture clash she experienced when she first left China to train in Barcelona and travel the world. 

"At the beginning when you are young, when you don't know anything, everything is super curious and exciting," Zheng said. "But then when you get to know a little bit more about other cultures, actually, you get confused. 

"Chinese people, our emotions are more inside and we show with our actions. Europeans and Americans are so open-minded. They have great words for you, but actually, sometimes they are not thinking like that. You do a little thing good and they say, 'That's amazing,' but you're just doing a little thing right. But Chinese people, you do a lot of things good, they will say, 'Keep going, keep working hard, you will get there.'

"It's so different."

The secret to Zheng's success? Blending it all together.

"I always try to find who I am," she said. "I don't want to think I am the best in the world. Obviously, that is not the right mentality. But I don't want to be too low, that I'm not good enough. That's not the right way to think. I'm trying to not be disturbed by what others are saying about me, to know who I really am. 

"Obviously I am still on the road to try to explore who I am. Tennis just shows me a lot about who I really am."