How to watch Lulu Sun’s historic Wimbledon quarter final match

Tennis player Lulu Sun has made an impressive rise through the rankings at Wimbledon this month.

Sun, 23, is the first New Zealand woman to reach the quarter-finals at the prestigious British tournament.

She beat Britain’s Emma Raducanu on Monday, after taking out China’s Zhu Lin on Saturday and winning against world number eight Qinwen Zheng in the first round of the women’s singles.

The last time a New Zealander reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon was in 1983, where Chris Lewis went on to lose the final.

I want to get behind the Kiwi, so who is Lulu Sun?

Sun was born in Te Anau to a Chinese mother and Croatian father and lived there until moving to Switzerland at age five. She often visits the picturesque Southland town – her grandparents are still based there.

She last played in Te Anau in 2018 – at an exhibition match at Te Anau Tennis Club’s annual tournament.

“Every time she comes back we seem to hear from her. She’s always looking for hitting partners and stuff like that,” club president Greg Sheppard said.

“[Her grandparents] have a lovely setting out there… they’ve got a nice tennis court, so everyone’s keen to go out there and hit with her, but she’s just getting a bit good for us now.”

Sun only switched national allegiance to New Zealand in March, previously competing for Switzerland.

She said the decision was a “truly pivotal moment in her career” and a “heartfelt tribute” to her birth country.

“Throughout the years, my deep bond with New Zealand has remained, and many of my favourite memories have involved spending time amidst the natural wonders of New Zealand with my extended family.”

Ranked at a career-high 123, the swap meant she was now New Zealand’s top-ranked player. After Wimbledon, her world ranking will jump to between 55 and 42, depending on how she finishes up. This means she’ll get direct acceptance to grand slams.

Earlier this month she was picked to represent New Zealand in doubles at the Paris Olympic Games along with Grand Slam winner Erin Routliffe.

Her number one fans – her sister Phenomena Sun (who played professional tennis until 2016) and her mum – have been watching on in the player box at Wimbledon.

Lulu Sun of New Zealand reacts after winning the ladies’ singles 4th round match against Emma Raducanu of United Kingdom on the day 7 of the Wimbledon tennis championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, United Kingdom on July 7, 2024. Lulu Sun won the match to advance to quarterfinals.( The Yomiuri Shimbun ) (Photo by Takuya Matsumoto / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AFP)

Sun graduated from the University of Texas in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and global studies. After graduation, she took up the racket professionally.

She now divides her time between Miami and Slovakia, where her coach Vladimir Platenik is based.

Sun speaks three languages, English, Mandarin and French, and she’s learning Korean.

How can I watch her quarter-final match?

Sun’s quarter-final against world number 37 Croatian Donna Vekic will be streamed live on TVNZ+ at midnight on Wednesday.

Sun’s coach Vladimir Platenik said it’s likely to be an aggressive match from both sides.

How am I going to stay awake for that?

Sun will take to Court 1 at midnight NZT. Since the average women’s tennis game at Wimbledon can last anywhere from 90 minutes up to two and half hours, staying up to watch her play might leave you feeling like a zombie the next day.

New Zealand's Lulu Sun returns against Britain's Emma Raducanu during their women's singles fourth round tennis match on the seventh day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2024.

Massey University senior lecturer and resident sleep expert Karyn O’Keeffe says it’s a tricky one as there’s not much time to prepare.

“Usually, I’d recommend having a nap sometime today, so you have a bit of sleep in your tank ahead of the match.”

If you’re able to get home early from work, she suggests grabbing a quick nap before 5pm.

Her other tip is to use caffeine, but strategically.

“Try not to use too much caffeine when you don’t need it and instead use it at times where you do need it.

“You might be able to have a quick nap between 10:30 and 11:30 and fall off to sleep. You’ll wake up groggy but then it’s time for that caffeine boost.”

But don’t drink too much coffee she warns, otherwise you’ll be struggling to fall asleep after the match ends.

“Get into bed as soon as the match finishes, presuming you’re not too excited after the *manifests* amazing win.”

If you have negotiation power, check in with your boss and see if you can start later on Wednesday in the name of supporting our own on the world stage. Or work from home – that way you can stay in your pyjamas for a bit longer. Maybe your partner can drop the kids at school while you grab a few more zzzs.

“Having one night of bad sleep is ok, it’s about making sure the rest of the week is as good as you can get,” O’Keefe said.

New Zealand's Lulu Sun celebrates winning against Britain's Emma Raducanu during their women's singles fourth round tennis match on the seventh day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2024. Sun won the match 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

The longest ever Wimbledon match took 11 hours and five minutes and was played over three days. The final set itself lasted eight hours and 11 minutes. If Sun manages to hold her ground for that long, you might have to apply for annual leave.

I want midnight snacks like I’m at the game

Watching from home might be less fancy than sitting courtside, but you can still take snack inspiration from the Wimbledon menu.

Strawberries and cream are a classic Wimbledon treat (the venue’s official website says around 200,000 portions are enjoyed during the tournament). While strawberries are out of season in New Zealand, you’ll find frozen ones at the supermarket that you could mix with Greek yoghurt for a protein-packed midnight snack.

If you’re making a night of it, a glass of fizz (champagne, prosecco, or some New Zealand-made fizz) will set the scene for a celebratory start. Alternatively, a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea might better suit the midnight mood, served with high tea favourites like club sandwiches, scones, quiche, and pastries.

If Sun wins, how much money will she bank?

Sun is guaranteed to take home NZ$782,000 just for reaching the last eight players in the singles tournament. It will be the biggest payday of her career so far.

Up to last week, the total prize money Sun had earned during her entire career was NZ$277,000.

If she was to win the tournament, she would become the highest-earning women’s player to represent Aotearoa, earning NZ$5,645,000.

The losing finalist gets NZ$2,926,000 in their purse.

If Sun was to win her quarterfinal but lose the semifinal, she would get almost NZ$1.5 million.

An extra perk Sun gets is access to Wimbledon’s exclusive Last 8 Club. Any players who reach the quarter-finals in the men’s or women’s singles gain life-entry to this club, getting free tickets to Wimbledon and access to hospitality suites at the All England Club.

How is her home town cheering her on?

A sign on the way into Te Anau, saying 'Go Lulu Te Anau to Wimbledon', cheering on Lulu Sun.

Sun’s home town is abuzz ahead for her quarter final, with residents planning to stay up late again to support their home town star on the world stage.

A watch party is being held at Te Anau Tennis Club.

Sheppard said the match would be the most high-profile of Sun’s career.

“Midnight we’re gonna launch this party, which is a better time than the 2.30am start we had last time, so we’re expecting a bigger crowd and she’s further through the draw now so things are getting even more exciting,” he said.

“There was exhaustion last night but now after a good sleep I think all our batteries are fully recharged ready for another episode, it takes its toll on you – I don’t know how the tennis players do it.”

Preparations were being made.

“We’ll have the big screen going, we’ll have some midnight snacks, we’re getting some decorations going up this afternoon which is quite cool we’ve got a crew of people trying to help which is awesome and should be a good atmosphere.”

Sheppard said excitement was only growing among residents as Sun continued to succeed in the tournament.

“Someone said there’s a sign on the way into town now saying ‘Go Lulu Te Anau to Wimbledon’ so the buzz is catching on, everyone’s talking about it.”

There were separate plans to put up another sign saying ‘Welcome to Lulu Land’ outside the town, he said.

Olivia Norris, who works at the Wapiti Bakery, said the publicity had really put Te Anau on the map.

“There’s definitely heaps of hype around it, everyone’s kind of getting behind it, talking about it, and bit more publicity about the town and how the tennis industry is really coming through which is cool.”

She said Sun’s journey was inspiring to the younger players, including her 10-year-old brother.

“Pretty cool to have that kind of tennis inspiration in Te Anau. My brother has really just thrived off it, as well as the girls.”

Fiordland councillor Sarah Greaney said having one of their own on the tennis’ world stage had created a buzz.

“I think there’s been really good excitement in the town around Lulu and what she’s been able to achieve at Wimbledon. We’re very proud to have a little piece of action here in Te Anau at the moment.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button