Discover Harmony Tan; Serena Williams’ opponent at Wimbledon

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Jackpot for Harmony Tan! The 24-year-old Frenchwoman, ranked 113th in the world, drew with Serena Williams in the first round of Wimbledon – and stunned the great champion as well as the general public, to whom she is still relatively unknown. However, she has a rich and atypical career that deserves to be discovered.

Tan “created” herself privately, the hard way

Born in Paris (September 11, 1997) and trained in the Ligue du Val-de-Marne in the Paris suburbs, Harmony Tan was never a product of the French federation, blocked in his childhood by the best players of his age, including Fiona Ferro.

She is now a member of TC Boulogne-Billancourt, not far from Roland-Garros, and has therefore continued to progress in private, making sacrifices with the financial support of her family (in particular the sale of a house) and leaving to abroad at the Bollettieri. Academy in Florida or at the home of Melanie Molitor, mother of Martina Hingis, in Switzerland.

In order not to get too scattered, Tan has hardly spent any time in the junior ranks, preferring to enter the pro circuit as soon as possible: she played her first ITF tournament in 2012, at 14, before joining INSEP (the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance) at 16 years old.

She is an artist, intellectual and athletic at heart

Harmony Tan did a lot of things during her youth: in addition to tennis, she also practiced dance, judo and golf. But the activity she practices most assiduously, apart from the yellow ball, is the piano, since she attended the Conservatory for seven years, with an essentially classical training.

Of Vietnamese and Cambodian origin, she also pushed her studies quite far, following her parents’ wishes: she obtained her baccalaureate, then followed the Sciences Po Paris program reserved for high-level athletes.

Today, Tan has a great passion outside of tennis: surfing, which she practices regularly in the Landes or on the Basque Coast, where she frequently stays.

She works with Nathalie Tauziat and Sam Sumyk

It was in the southwest that she met the one who has been training her for several years: Nathalie Tauziat, Wimbledon finalist in 1998, and now based in Biarritz. Tauziat, who took him from 500th place in the world to the top 100, naturally focused his progress on attacking tennis and net play. But it also helped her a lot mentally.

“Harmony takes her time, she lacks confidence,” the former world No. 3 told rmcsport last year. “She has a long way to go, first because we didn’t believe in her so much. Little by little, it is a question of giving him the means to do more things.

Over time, Harmony Tan has also been able to evolve the structure of its team. Long followed by Pierre Bouteyre (former coach of Alizé Cornet), she integrated Sam Sumyk, the French technician based in the United States who rubbed shoulders with Vera Zvonareva, Victoria Azarenka and Garbiñe Muguruza, in her team at the end of last season.

His tennis is varied and inspired

Harmony Tan is not what you would call a puncher. Nor is she a player with big strengths and clearly identified weaknesses. Instead, she’s the kind of player who does a bit of everything, depending on her mood at the time – her artistic side, no doubt – and of course the surface.

The result is an inspired and varied tennis, today rather turned towards the future, no doubt thanks to the touch of Nathalie Tauziat. As they say, Harmony has good hands, which allows him to master the backhand slice, dropshot and volley. She doesn’t hesitate to serve and volley from time to time, which can be useful on grass. If she had to choose one shot that she particularly masters, it would be the backhand all the way. She plays the backhand with both hands (she is right-handed), to be complete.

In any case, even though Tan has never played in the main draw at Wimbledon, his tennis seems made to adapt to grass. This was demonstrated by a semi-final last week at a WTA 125 event on grass in Italy.

She has already won two Grand Slam matches but has never faced a player of Serena’s level

Having only cracked the top 100 this year – she reached her best ranking of 90th in April – Harmony isn’t used to facing players of Serena Williams’ level, even though the latter, who has been out for a year , has little WTA ranking and wildcard at Wimbledon.

The strongest player the Frenchwoman has faced so far is Elina Svitolina (17th in the world), who lost in the second round of the Australian Open earlier this year. She was forced to retire due to injury. It’s a shame, because she had just won her second Grand Slam match after beating Alizé Cornet at Roland Garros in 2021.

But little by little, the woman who fell from the second floor of her school at the age of eight is learning the tricks of the trade. Last April, she played her first Billie Jean King Cup match, replacing injured Clara Burel. She lost a lot to Camila Giorgi, but gained a bit more experience. Now, she seems ready for the very high level.

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