When Chun-Hsin Tseng was growing up, he enjoyed all sports. Baseball, one of the most popular sports in his home country of Chinese Taipei, was not at the top of his list.

“In school we did not [have] original baseball, but you hit the ball and the rules are similar like [in] baseball,” Tseng recalled. “I really like the feeling when you hit the ball so far and you run the bases, so that’s why I started [it] when I was very young.”

Tseng never fully immersed himself in the sport, though. It took until the Covid-19 pandemic for him to begin watching more baseball videos on the Internet. Once he did, it became a major part of his life. Playing professional tennis is Tseng’s career, vut baseball has become part of what helps fuel the 21-year-old’s success.

Some players warm up for practice by riding a bike in the gym or kicking around a football. Tseng throws a baseball like a pitcher.

“Now I’m following the [baseball] highlights every day. I really like to watch baseball and also I like to throw,” said Tseng, who travels with a baseball glove. “I always do it before my practice. It’s good to warm up my shoulder. The motion is similar like my serve, so it also helped me to serve better.”

Baseball is more to Tseng than just a physical warmup, though. The Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals competitor has become a big fan of one of the sport’s biggest stars, Shohei Ohtani of Japan.

“For me it is incredible [to follow him]. I really admire him and I was reading [a] book [about him] and trying to learn from him to see where I can improve and be like him,” Tseng said. “I think he worked very hard, that’s the first point for sure. He had big goals when he was young and he’s good at planning.

“He has a lot of good plans in his mind and he stays with it, and I think that’s why he can be at the top.”


One of Tseng’s biggest goals this year was to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. Mission accomplished.

“I think it’s good to bring all the best young players together and compete,” Tseng said. “[We] play only four games, five sets. It’s going to be quick so you have to get used to it and into the match very quickly to be in a good position.”

The 21-year-old, currently No. 90 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, aims to next year crack the Top 50. But for now, he is appreciating all he has accomplished thus far. Last December, Tseng broke into the Top 200 for the first time, and now he is competing in Milan.

“For me it was an incredible journey because when I was around 280 or 300, I was stuck there for two or three years. For me it was tough,” Tseng said. “But suddenly from last year November until now, I became Top 100. I was very surprised because at that moment I didn’t really expect that I would go that fast. From then until now, I couldn’t believe it.

“There was a time I was always confused on court and made some wrong decisions and things just didn’t go well. But I just keep trying to work hard every day and try to improve myself because I believe that will bring me to the top level.”


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