The Shanghai Rolex Masters has awarded main draw wild cards to China’s leading male players Zhang Ze, Wu Di, and Li Zhe.
The Shanghai Rolex Masters will be played at the Qi Zhong Tennis Center 7 to 14 October and these young players will have the chance to mix it with some of the biggest names in world tennis.
“We see this as a tremendous opportunity for Wu, Zhang and Li and we are delighted to be in a position to offer them these wild cards which avoids them playing the tough qualifying rounds,” Tournament Director Michael Luevano said. “We feel this sort of experience is invaluable. To be playing main draw in one of the biggest tournaments in the world and the only ATP Masters 1000 event in Asia is a dream come true for the guys.
“The world of professional tennis is highly competitive and the fact that we can open the door just a bit and give the guys the opportunity to test their games against the international stars, we feel will stand them in good stead with their careers.”
Zhang is the No.1 Chinese male player and he is ranked at a career high of 166. Nicknamed “Big George” he plays No.1 in Davis Cup for the country and this year will mark his third time in the main draw for the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the last being in 2011.
During 2012 he reached six quarterfinals at the Challenger level, an incredibly impressive effort. The Nanjing resident reached that round most recently at Ningbo and also at the Road to the Shanghai Rolex Masters Challenger, played at Qi Zhong. At a Tour level he qualified at Halle and made the last 16. He also won two and reached the final of three Futures events.
Wu recently turned 21 and is also at a career high ranking of 185. This will be the Wuhan native’s second time, and first since 2010, in the main draw for the Shanghai Rolex Masters.
Wu was a finalist at the Beijing Challenger, was a semi-finalist at Challengers in Ningbo and Karshi and made the last 16 of the Road to the Shanghai Rolex Masters Challenger. This year he has also done well at the Futures, winning three and reaching two other finals.
Li reached a career high ranking of 307 in July this year and is currently ranked 393. The 26 year from Tianjin has enjoyed quite a bit of success at Futures tournaments. He won titles at China F9 and Israel F8 and was a semi-finalist at four other events in China. This will be Li’s second main draw visit to the Shanghai Rolex Masters having also played last year.
The Shanghai Rolex Masters voted the last three years the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 “Tournament of the Year”, is the only such event in Asia. It will once again be hosting the best of the best including two time defending champion, Olympic Gold medallist and new US Open champion Andy Murray, winner of a record 17 Grand Slam titles Roger Federer, five time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic and last year’s finalist and Davis Cup hero David Ferrer.