A story: dreams fulfilled

cimg7592.JPGA grieved one.  Or, a happy one .. .. about Yuan Meng 袁梦 (yuan meng 园梦 means a dream fulfilled). file 22885

I found few Chinese tennis pros’ names are all sounded whimsical – regardless how they were written. Yan who played in Toronto, Yan Zi = swallow, and Yu Fengming 于凤鸣.

Yuan Meng is a 21 years old pro who made into US Open main draw last year but has to play the qualifying round this year.  Tony brought her to SAndy’s house to practice this afternoon.  So after lunch and shower, we all went back there again.

Tony was hitting with a youngster, then Yuan walked onto the court, and started practicing with the youngster.  She would stop and confer with the lady who remained on the court all the time while she’s playing.  The lady looks in her 50s, very tanned too.  To my common sense, there wasn’t any tennis – so to speak – in China back 30 or 40 years ago (however I did have a classmate in Beijing who came from Sichuan province played tennis there in an athletic school), so I said so to Tony.  He laughed,

“You’re right .. .. she doesn’t play tennis at all.”  Then added that she’s also from Zhongguancun’s CAS??

Is she a manager or 保姆  Nanny?

“That’s bit offensive.” Tony looked at me.

Well, they are basically groupies, managers and coaches.  IMHO, managers are pretty much a nanny, 一脚踢 in Hong Kong lingo – who does it all.  Not a derogatory term in my dictionary.

During a water break, I chatted with the lady who couldn’t wait to tell me why she’s here.

Yuan came from a farming family (a.k.a. un-educated) in Hunan province (Mao’s home province).  She was selected to attend an athletic school, playing tennis.  When she’s 11, she stole a perfume bottle from her roommate. “It’s cute .. she didn’t know anything .. it cost on 11.40 RMB.”  So the coach singled her out as the trouble maker, and made the environment poisonous for her for the next two years.  Her fellow players would hide their wallets around her .. .. She had no way out but to leave.  When the athletic school refused to issue a certificate for her to attend school elsewhere, Yuan’s really done for.

A family friend in Beijing took her in to practice with their child.  Few months later, when the child gained admittance to the athletic school, her service was no longer needed.  So Yu’s brother-in-law asked her to take the 14-years old in for few days. It stretched into few weeks, then few months.

“I was really at my wits end.  She tied me down, stayed home all day with nothing to do … she lied all the time, didn’t trust any one .. I wondered out loud when would she leave … then she started calling me gan ma – god mother ..”

As we were chatting, Yuan came over.  Yu immediately massaged her right hand with both her hands.

So the burdened lady who knew nothing about tennis became coach/shrink/financier.  She learned on the job, moved to Shenzhen for the warmer climate, sold their house to finance their travel.  For a while, Yu’s grown son was supporting them.

Today, they both clad in Adidas.  Yuan did well in Aussie Open (in January) and was signed by Adidas right on the spot. Tony was more blunt in asking as how much the expenses are, like $150k a year?  Yu didn’t give an answer.  Then she started complaining as how much the hotel cost, very expensive, like $100 a night .. the prize money would only cover the entrance fees …

Does her prize money plus the endorsement cover the expenses?

Yu said, “we’re still in talk.”  ?? (Her post on Adidas in 2012)

Either she’s a true Mao’s trooper – looked like one (sounded like one too), or just a lousy manager who doesn’t know her way around.  She told me that Adidas only supplies clothing.  I was very surprised to hear this. Hello … even Golfer’s high school classmate got free clothing/sneakers and equipment, for only playing high school tennis.

Anyway, I am definately not the one who analyze things or people, believing what other tells me.  Yuan’s profile on US Open showed her career earning is US$136,817.  Not bad for a farmer’s daughter who got kicked out of the system, under no professional coach thereafter.

During the time we were at the court, I saw one thing strange: Yuan takes a lot, I mean A LOT breaks. Yu said,

“OH ya. I won’t let her to practice more than two hours at time. One to two times a day, to preserve her physical energy.”

Another hello. I though all the pros practice 7-8 hours a day, 6-7 days a week to build their stamina. Oh well, Irene doesn’t know tennis. I think she’s out of her mind. Yuan needs to practice a lot longer and a lot more, if she wants to have any kind of future, in tennis.

They met by fate.  A lovely story, touchy.  Sorry the story teller has limitations, :).  .. .. Relationships fascinate me. ____________

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.