Christian Didier Chin is undoubtedly the best tennis player Malaysia has had in a very long time. The 17-year-old speaks with NSTP Sport’s on his ambition
Question: After doing well in the Australian Open Junior, you have said you want to go all the way and win the French Open junior. What is your approach in preparing for such a big tournament?
Answer: I will try and play as many matches in as many tournaments as I can before the French Open Junior. I will go out and try my best in every match and keep trying new things. Regardless of whether I win or lose, this is the only way I can learn and gain more experience.
Q: You have an attacking game with a lot of focus on serve and volley. Have you settled on this style or are you still working out what you are comfortable with?
A: My game is unique and takes a long time, maybe three or four years, to really master it. I enjoy it and am not going to follow anyone else’s style.
Q: What is your favourite surface?
A: I like grass courts where everything is fast and I can really go to the net a lot. But I also have a lot of ideas on how to do well on clay, I just have to plan and execute the points well.
Q: Who is your favourite player?
A: My favourite player is Dustin Brown, he is a German player. I like the way he serves and volleys, and comes up with a big shot to keep his opponents guessing, which is really a strength.
Q: How has it been touring alone most of the time?
A: From a young age, I have been travelling a lot and I am always learning and gaining as much knowledge as I can. I am trying to know tennis better and what I do off the court is just as important as what I do on it.
I usually make all the travelling arrangements myself and it is tiring but you have to do what you have to do.
Q: You have had some shoulder problems recently. How do you cope with such problems on tour?
A: They (doctors) said it is not a big problem. I just need to rest, I have been travelling a lot, and my body could not take it. I will also need to hit the gym to build up muscles and also stretch to loosen the muscles, so my body can cope better.
Q: You quit school at a young age to pursue a career in tennis. Do you miss school?
A: I quit school when I was in Form One. Of course I miss going out with friends and having a social life but I would rather do something I like, playing tennis and experiencing the ups and downs. It makes me a better person. You don't learn these things in school.
Q: Who are your best friends on tour?
A: I have so many friends: Russian, Asian and European. I am close to so many but one of my best friends is Sergey Fomin who is from Uzbekistan and often plays doubles with me. He is one year younger than me but he is way bigger than me.
Q: What do you normally eat on tour?
A: I usually eat pasta and generally try to eat nutritious food. I do not mind spending the extra money on good food as I cannot afford to go into a match feeling weak. It is very important.
Good food will also help me grow bigger. I am 1.71m at the moment and there is still room for growth, I just need to keep eating.
Q: You do not have a permanent coach at the moment. Do you think having one would improve your game?
A: For now, I do not think a coach can do much for me - maybe give me positive comments and support. What is important for me now is knowing what I need to do to improve myself.
Q: You have said that you want to be the first Malaysian to win a grand slam event. Which of the four do you want the most?
A: Of course I want to win Wimbledon. It’s a unique surface and it fits my game well. When I go on grass, I feel really confident of doing well.
Q: What do you look forward to when you go back home to Kota Kinabalu?
A: I like to visit the tennis courts at Likas and see the youngsters there. I like to see them happy and inspired when I visit them. As a senior and role model to them, I feel it is important to give them support and guidance when possible.
I did not have that when I was younger. It is very important for me to give back.