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A Chinese tennis player's bid for independenceBy CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer
February 14, 2006



SHANGHAI, China (AP) -- Peng Shuai wants to wrest control of her tennis career from a sports bureaucracy that grooms players from childhood at no cost but regards them as government servants.

Peng was ranked 31st last year, the highest ranking ever for a Chinese player, and has beaten such stars as Kim Clijsters, Anastasia Myskina and Elena Dementieva.

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She wants the final say over her training regimen and tournament schedule and a split of her prize money, a report said Tuesday.

"We will decide on the season schedule on our own, hire our own coach and pay for our own expenses," Peng's mother and spokeswoman, Zhang Bing, told the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily.

Tennis officials originally labeled 20-year-old Peng's demands as selfish, but now appear to be backing down. She may be too promising a prospect to alienate.

The newspaper Chengdu Commercial Times cited unidentified tennis officials as saying that "only a few details" remained to be worked out in a deal that would keep Peng on the national team, while letting her arrange her training and schedule.

Peng would pay her expenses, while splitting some prize money with the association, the report said.

In one sign the rift may be healing, Peng joined other players Monday in Beijing to apply for U.S. visas to compete at Indian Wells and Miami, the Chengdu Commercial Times said.

Peng, training in Tianjin outside Beijing, could not be reached for comment. However, Tang Jiaying, vice director of Tianjin Tennis Association, said Peng was talking with tennis officials "to solve this problem."

"I can't comment on the exact situation regarding Peng Shuai at present," Tang said by telephone. "We don't want too much exposure. ... This does no good to Peng Shuai or to the associations."

Peng isn't the first Chinese athlete to chafe under state control. Wang Zhizhi, the first Chinese in the NBA, was criticized after he refused to return in the offseason to play for China. Basketball officials threw him off the national team and reportedly sought to make him unemployable by refusing to broadcast games in China featuring any team that hired him.

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Good for her! And I'm glad her parents are backing her up. Looks like she's gonna be back now! And hopefully happier and with better results!
 

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Aww im happy for her :)

This whole story really makes me grateful to live in the states (and potentially Europe down the road:p ). Things that any pro athlete would take for granted such as being able to make their own schedule and hire their own trainer is something that Peng potentially risked her career in asking for. I'm glad to see it's working out.
 

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She will be an unperson tomorrow (I've just got done reading 1984)
 

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Difficult to say, whether it will help her or not.. Once Natasha Zvereva won her freedom, the freedom spoiled her and her inner drive to the singles success was pretty much gone.. But it will definitely help other Chinese players in long run..
 

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Poor Shuai, I really hope she can come back strong from this :sad:
 

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I hope she can afford to break away
 

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Excellent!Some progress. :yeah:
 

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I say this is the natural progression of things,

In fact, this was long overdue. I wihsed more chinese players could do the same. Tennis is an individual, it is time the Chinese players act like individuals with wants and desire, personal freedom, likes and dislikes, eagerness to make own decision. The collective farm era has long past and gone.

The Russians had the same farm system, but they quickly adjusted when the country was open. And the players started acting like professionl tennis palyers, not a tennis team where decision are made by body, but the players as individuals.
 

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Once she gets free of the CTA, I'm changing my name to :pengisfree:. :p :lol:
 

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morningglory said:
Communists....

They aren't really communists.


Awesome Peng stick it to them. Then when u get ur chance RUN!
 

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that's great :D
at least Peng show some signs to play again. i hope she comes to IW and not coming back to China :p
 
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