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Lulu Sun ready for new expectations after Wimbledon quarter-final series

Lulu Sun reacts after defeating Emma Raducanu of Great Britain in the fourth round of the Wimbledon Championships. Photo / Getty Images
Lulu Sun reacts after defeating Emma Raducanu of Great Britain in the fourth round of the Wimbledon Championships. Photo / Getty Images

He was still reading messages of support.

“I can’t even count, I’ve been trying to text everyone back. It’s unbelievable more than it used to be. So I try to do that, as much as I can. The amount of support I’ve gotten from people watching at Wimbledon to people watching in New Zealand is incredible and it’s really surreal to be able to get that much support. I’m really in awe.”

Sun’s world ranking will rise from 123 ahead of Wimbledon to the mid-50s when her world rankings are updated, which will happen after the Paris Olympics. It means she will avoid the Grand Slams after becoming the first qualifier to reach the last eight at Wimbledon since 2010. It also means an invitation to bigger tournaments and more prize money after earning a career-high $782,056 this week. She earned $10,022 by winning a lower-tier ITF event earlier this year.

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“I will be able to play more WTA tournaments… It will be much easier to get into tournaments, which will be very helpful because time is of the essence and it helps to plan better and go to tournaments where you know where you are going in advance, which is helpful in terms of preparation and training.

“It will definitely help me develop and progress.”

“Even if you’re 80 or 90 years old, it’s still a really tough environment because when you play in the ITFs, you don’t earn as much as when you play in the top events, the grand slams or the top WTA events. So you have to pay for everything yourself. And it’s definitely not a cheap sport,” Sun added.

“You can pick up a racket and a ball and play with your friends but professionally it’s not a cheap sport. Everyone at ITF level struggles to get to that position so it’s something every player works hard at every day. So making that leap is really important and necessary to improve further. With that you can prepare better.”

She withdrew from this week’s Hungarian Grand Prix tournament because she is not in the main draw and has a tight turnaround to qualify. Instead, she will begin preparing for the Olympics, where she will play doubles with Routliffe.

“The Olympics is bigger than just you. You’re representing a country. Erin has a lot of experience on tour. I’ve just experienced Wimbledon, so with our experience on tour and our games, I think we’ll give 100 per cent to every match we play and give everything for New Zealand.”

Sun is aware that expectations will now be lowered and is happy about it.

“Of course that will come after a few wins at Wimbledon,” Sun said, slightly downplaying the significance of her seven wins to reach the quarter-finals.

“I don’t think pressure is necessarily a bad thing. It depends on how you perceive it and of course if I keep improving and working I think the results will come. I can’t just focus on ‘I want to win, I want to win’ because that’s not going to help me as much as improving every little aspect of my tennis.”

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