Jan 21, 2009

Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun (盧彥勳) dumps David Nalbandian out in second round, pulls off biggest upset

I can't describe to you how happy I am when Rendy Lu Yen-Hsun (盧彥勳) shocked 10th seed David Nalbandian in the Australian Open second round today for the biggest win of his career.

Rendy thumped Nalby 6-4, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 6-2 in three hours 55 minutes.

Currently at a career-high no. 61 in the world rankings, Rendy will next meet no. 21 seed Tommy Robredo of Spain in the third round.

Robredo defeated Viktor Troicki 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in just 82 minutes.

Here's Rendy's interview after the win from AO official website.

Q. How does it feel to make the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time?

YEN‑HSUN LU: For sure now I really happy. I was pick up the phone all the times and my friends was congratulations to me all times. Really, for me, it's big step to be the third round in a Grand Slam, because before I always only in the second round.

Today, I just step one big step to go to third round. For me it's very happy. Really I could tell my friend is really happy for me.

Q. How did you make that big step? Why were you better than Nalbandian?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Today is not ‑‑ I mean, I just nothing to lose today, because he's top 10 player. For me, I'm 61 in the world and I have no pressure. I just going on the court and play my game and it's not about who is better.

But today for sure I'm better performance than him. I think I serve also more consistent than him. After the fourth set and final set I was play more aggressive than him. So that's the key point I can take in this match today. Yes.

Q. Could they do something about the game in your country generally speaking? And how you began to play? It's very popular there where you live?

YEN‑HSUN LU: You mean the tennis?

Q. Yes.

YEN‑HSUN LU: It's very popular now. It's not the first sport in my country. It's probably three or four. The baseball is my country's sport. I'm happy because I did a match that they show in Taiwan, and I really happy I can tell them the tennis is going on in Taiwan. I hope they can more support the Taiwan players.

Q. You said your friends. Were they watching you back in Taiwan?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Yes, I think they show sports on ESPN.

Q. Is this win better than the win over Andy Murray at the Olympics?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I think it's different meanings for me, because Olympic is play for my country. But here is, I mean, it's different than Olympic because it's Grand Slam. I think for me it's most biggest of the tennis events. So it's two different events. I couldn't compete which one is better.

These two victories for me is really good memory and really good experience for me. So, yeah, I really happy about these two wins.

Q. The last game of the match was very long. How important was it for you to win that even though you had the extra break? Did you feel you had to win then?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I didn't think I have to win, but I just worry about my body. Because I really struggling with my body, and my legs start to have some problem. I really tell myself I need to close this game, because I don't want to like have problem to serving to 5‑4.

So really, even he has a breakpoint, I tried to get a point back and get a point back. So I'm happy I done for this. I just go for it these last games, yes.

Q. You served very well with the breakpoints down in the last game. You served very well then.

YEN‑HSUN LU: I mean, because everybody thinks Nalbandian is the best backhand players. Because I just guess he's ready for his forehand returns, so I just change my mind and say, Okay, then I go his backhand all the time.

So I was serving six times in his backhand in the breakpoint and I win all the points. I really betting I win this game. I betting to win this game, yeah.

Q. Are you the best player ever in Taiwan, or are there some others stronger than you as far as you know? What's the history of tennis in Taiwan? Why did you start playing tennis instead of another sport?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Right now I'm the first one in the top 100 players. Before they have other one to go in be top 100, but now he's out.

We are the first two in top 100 in our country.

Q. What was his name?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Mr. Wang, W‑a‑n‑g. How I choose tennis is my father loved to watch tennis match in Taiwan. My father just think if I have one day to play in Grand Slam then he is happy.

I have a chance and my school wants to make a new team. So I just join the team and start to play. I really enjoy to build on my tennis. Until the juniors I have some sponsor, and I deal with my father and my family until then.

I really want to try the professional tennis, so we started to...

Q. Is your father playing tennis, too?


Q. And your family is rich? Could he afford to pay your expenses?

YEN‑HSUN LU: No. Because we not rich, but we just average. I'm lucky, because in the juniors I was traveling with ITF teams and they was paying all the cost so I save a lot money.

The reason is I got a sponsor after the juniors, so we start to decide to play the professional.

Otherwise if we have no sponsor then maybe we will not try to play the professional tennis. Yeah.

Q. Taipei had has some really excellent little league baseball teams. Anybody try to recruit you for those little league teams?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I don't think so. I don't know. I'm not sure. But I just know our national team will come to Australia to make a preparation for the World Cup in the States. So they're going to play some friendly matches against Australia teams.

But I don't know. I love to watch the baseball, but we have no really contact. Yeah, the players, but my trainers come from the baseball, so I know many story from them. Yeah.

Q. Were your teachers all from Taipei? Did you learn to play tennis with some international coach? How many coaches were in Taipei where you were playing?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Right now I was practice in Germany with Rainier Schuettler's coach, Dirk Hordorff. He also help me a lot when I was playing professional tennis in 2003. I always practice with him, and if he has time he coach me and teach me how I improve.

Today in the match he also was sitting outside and watch I play. We discuss after the match. And yeah, he's help me a lot right now. Yes.

Q. Was there a player you liked watching growing up?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I follow a lot. I follow Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and Michael Chang. These guys really famous in Taiwan when they play.

But I don't know if I want to become them, but I really want to become myself, to go in a Grand Slam to play the match. Yeah.

Q. Was Chang more popular than anybody else in Taipei?

YEN‑HSUN LU: He's the one Chinese player to make top 5 and win a Grand Slam, so everybody know him. I know his first sponsor also is from some newspaper company from Taiwan, so many people was looking for him, or follow him many times.

Q. Have you met him? Did you ever talk to him?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Actually, I meet him one time in the challengers, yeah. We just have one, two conversations. But I was talking to his father. Yeah, his father is nice.

So we're just talking how we going to play, how we should do the practice. Yeah, he give me some ideas.

Q. Do you have any relation with the girl tennis player, Chinese of the other China who won the Olympics?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Yeah, we know each other. We always have like Taiwan, the girls, we have the dinner sometimes. If we meet each other, like we talk natural like friends.

So it's not ‑‑ we don't have a distance, so it's not a problem. Yeah.

Q. You talked about your coach. Do you work only on private, or do you work also with the Federation?

YEN‑HSUN LU: I work private. Yeah, because the first point is Taiwan ‑‑ I tell you like I tell you before, we are the first one to be top 100, so they have really no experience, like how we should do in the professional tennis.

So then we always looking for coach with more experience and can bring us up. I'm not saying Taiwan coach is bad, but they need sometime to get experience and start to travel with juniors or lower players and get more experience.

So you, I working with private coach.

Q. If you had to play doubles with the Chinese players, the Chinese would allow that?

YEN‑HSUN LU: It's not a big deal. You think it's a...

Q. I'm asking if there is a political issue why they can or cannot play together?

YEN‑HSUN LU: No. This time, like many girls' teams mixed, like Taiwan and China. I think it's no problem, like because you play yourself. It's not a Grand Slam.

But if you are play for country then it's different. But in a Grand Slam and professional tennis...

Q. I mean, in doubles you can play together?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Yeah, no problem.

Q. Why do they call you Randy? You were baptized at a second name as Randy?

YEN‑HSUN LU: Because same problem with you cannot pronounce my first name. Then I choose because I have ‑‑ I been English class, and the teacher say we need to make some English name, so I choose this time name, and I use, use.

Also my coach, he think Randy is easier. So now is more people call me Randy.

Q. So they call you Randy?


Hey AO, his name should be spelled as R-E-N-D-Y :P

And here are more photos exclusively taken by Zahirah (Photo credit should read and link back to Zahirah). Click on the photos to enlarge. You may also want to read Rendy's pre-AO interview last week done by Zahirah.

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