In the midst of career-best Miami Open run, Hsieh Su-wei discussed her traveling team, headed by boyfriend Frederic Aniere, who points to the veteran's tennis brain and unique style with helping her earn a big win over World No.1 Naomi Osaka.
David Kane
March 24, 2019

MIAMI, FL, USA - On the court, Hsieh Su-wei appears very much like a one-woman show, bouncing from a scintillating Miami Open singles win over World No.1 Naomi Osaka, to a tight two-set doubles victory with Barbora Strycova, ending the evening with a press conference/sit-down comedy set.

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"I normally don't have a very good memory," she coyly opened when asked about what she learned from her narrow Australian Open defeat to Osaka. "But the good thing is my team, they have a good memory. So sometime they remind me."

Coached by Paul McNamee at major tournaments - but mainly through correspondence - her traveling team consists of her brother, and, for the last two years, boyfriend Frederic Aniere.

"When people support you, you always feel you cannot give up, need to hang in there because people is supporting you. They bought the ticket, they're coming in to watch you. Sometime they're from your hometown, local. It's amazing to have the crowd that supporting you all the time."
Hsieh Su-wei

"She knows a lot about tennis," Aniere explained shortly after Hsieh closed out Osaka. "She doesn’t necessarily need someone to tell her what she has to do, because she knows exactly what she has to do herself. I’m just here to give her confidence, to have a good time together, and that’s it. Of course, we talk about tennis, but she knows what she has to do."

A former recreational player who grew up near Roland Garros, Aniere gave up an eight-year career in real estate to travel full-time with the former doubles World No.1, and the results were almost immediate. Former doubles partner Peng Shuai pointed to "the power of love" when Hsieh scored a big win over Johanna Konta at the French Open.

Six months later, she returned to the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in a decade at last year's Australian Open with wins over Garbiñe Muguruza and Agnieszka Radwanska.

"I don’t try to understand her all the time. I just let her be herself, but for sure, she’s interesting, different from other players. She has a different way of working. She likes to play with feeling, and she’s like this in life. It’s what goes for her."

"Let Hsieh be Hsieh" seems to be the refrain for all involved, as the Chinese Taipei veteran explained - in her inimitable fashion - of a time one coach attempted to improve her serve.

"I say, 'Hey, look, my arm is like this,'" she laughed, pointing to her lean bicep. "Don't try to break my little arm! I will try to do something else, but don't try too much. I play double hand, so they become one arm."

Hsieh Su-wei, Miami Open, Miami

Making her major singles breakthrough in 2008, it took time to find the perfect routine, with both Hsieh and Aniere noting an increased fitness regimen.

"A long time ago I was doing less fitness, and my tennis level was not going good like this year. The fitness was not very good. Sometime I would get tired, and I would tell my sister, 'I feel I'm going dead, I'm so tired.' She'd say, 'I cannot help you. Maybe drink some water, you forget you are tired!'"

"For sure, she’s different," Aniere echoed. "She does a lot of yoga, a lot of stretching. She doesn’t spend three hours on the court every day. If she’s stretching and feeling good in the body, maybe she works more on her fitness. When you get older you have to be even more fit and ready.

"We don’t push her too much but we put out positive energy, which makes it more fun to go out on the court and practice."

Feeling fresher than she had in Melbourne - and likely more confident after a first Premier 5 semifinal appearance at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships - Hsieh rallied from within one game of defeat, weathering Osaka's big-serving storm to earn her best-ever result at a Premier Mandatory tournament.

"I didn't feel the match is over and I don't believe at the moment. I was just thinking I just play the shot. As long as she don't hit ace, I keep hitting every ball.

"When people support you, you always feel you cannot give up, need to hang in there because people is supporting you. They bought the ticket, they're coming in to watch you. Sometime they're from your hometown, local. It's amazing to have the crowd that supporting you all the time."

Playing former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki for a spot in the quarterfinals, she deduced that her marathon Saturday schedule should help ready her for the running necessary to break through the Danish Wall. Aniere went even further, believing that "Su-wei Style" could end up holding the trophy at the end of the week.

Hsieh Su-wei, Miami Open, Miami

"I think the first reason is her specific game. Most of the girls aren’t used to playing this ball. It can be low, fast or slow, and she can change many things in her game depending on the opponent. She’s a good fighter, and she never gives up. We saw it today again. She has very good hands and she can tough on her opponent mentally."

For the 33-year-old closing in on a career-high ranking, it would be the latest success in a career full of adversity.

"I was traveling myself for a long time. I had a part-time coach. It wasn't easy for a player to play in the tour when they don't get a sponsor or they don't get help.

"One year was very lucky because I get some sponsor and I get Paul MacNamee straightaway, then my ranking went like this."

Hsieh Su-wei, Dubai, Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

She tilts her "little arm" upward.

"I was already 25. I told Paul, 'I think I have a chance to win a Grand Slam in doubles or mixed doubles. That's why I hire you. I want you to help me to get the trophy, to get souvenir.'

"He came on and pushed me to play singles. Then I become singles player, and in one and a half year he pushed me to best ranking, World No.23. Unfortunately I twist my ankle, I had no physio. I went down. I couldn't move my leg on the court. I still tried to play tournaments, and because my ankle was pretty bad, Paul asked me who is your best partner. Then we win Wimbledon [with Peng].

"This is the story, quite a drama, but if you never give up, I think there will be a good thing to happen."