Chinese chair umpire Zhang recounts marvelous journey in interview with WTA

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BEIJING, May 26 (Xinhua) -- interviewed Chinese umpire Jennifer Zhang on Monday to share her "amazing journey" in the tennis world.

Zhang recounts her road to becoming the chair umpire to earn a gold badge and the role she now plays as a mentor for other tennis officials from her country.

According to the interview, Zhang, picking up tennis at nine, got her white badge in 2002 with the support of both the China Tennis Association (CTA) and the regional Asian Tennis Association (ATA), paving her way to officiate internationally.

She thought her selection for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 could be the culmination and end of her officiating career, but she continued to move to higher levels.

"I was just thrilled that I was there - the Olympics in my hometown, what more could I ask for?" She told the "Because at that time, officiating was my hobby, and I thought that it would be difficult to make it my career."

She earned the bronze badge in 2006 and was promoted to silver at the end of 2008. From 2010 to 2012, she was a member of a joint ITF, ATP, and WTA officiating team, which afforded her more opportunities to work as a chair umpire at bigger events abroad, the interview said.

"This was another opportunity for me that came with other challenges," she was quoted. "When the WTA offered me a chance to go to Europe, I was able to see more tennis at a high level.

"Matches were completely different from my previous experiences. Not only was the level different, but the setup of the tournaments was also - from players, crowds, media, live TV, announcements of the score in local languages, to officials from different countries, ball kids, cultural differences, and language barriers.

Zhang eventually reached the top of the profession in the WTA, becoming the tour's chair umpire.

Now Zhang travels for an average of 26 weeks a year on tour, and she also mentors young Chinese officials as part of the tour's development program.

For Zhang, her experience in the tennis world has been "amazing."

"I had a lot of opportunities that came to me unexpectedly. It's been an amazing journey for me." Enditem

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