July 14, 2024

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Tears of joy at the New Zealand Tennis Club as the sun shines on Wimbledon

Tears of joy at the New Zealand Tennis Club as the sun shines on Wimbledon

Lulu Solar of New Zealand celebrates her win against Emma Raduganu of Great Britain during day seven of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Garden Tennis and Croquet Membership in Wimbledon, southwest London, July 7, 2024. Solar won 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. (Photo: Henry Nicholls/AFP)

As top seed Lulu Solar cried after reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, tears were shed on the other side of the world at her tennis club in a small rural town in New Zealand.

Solar, ranked 123rd in the world, wept openly on Center Court following her stunning 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 fourth-round victory over 2021 US Open champion Emma Raduganu. At Wimbledon.

Solar, 23, was born in Te Ana, a remote town near the southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island.

READ: Radukanu ‘stands on his end’ to end Andy Murray’s career at Wimbledon

A small party broke out in the early hours of Monday morning at the local tennis club during their recent win at Wimbledon.

Tee Anau Tennis Membership President Greg Shepard said he and about 20 other members were glued to the clubhouse television to watch Solar win.

“It was stressful and very exciting,” Shepherd told AFP.

“When she started crying we also cried a little in the club. It was very emotional.”

“We’re so excited for her. It’s incredible, something we’ve never experienced before. “It’ll be great to see Lulu next time I’m home.”

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Solar is the daughter of a Chinese mother and Croatian father.

After living in Te Anau, where he says “there are more sheep and deer than people,” Solar moved to Shanghai with his mother before settling in Switzerland.

Until this year, he played under the Swiss flag after playing college tennis in the US.

Shepherd said he is very proud of Solar’s performance so far.

“I think if you dig a hole at Wimbledon, you dig yourself. “We’re on the other side,” he joked.

The cartoonist said he was finding it difficult to do any work on Monday.

“I got home at 7am and charged my phone. The battery ran out twice,” said Shepherd, who expects another sleepless night when Solar plays Croatia’s Donna Vekic in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.

Solar will attempt to become only the second New Zealand woman to reach the last four of a Grand Slam since Belinda Cardwell at the 1989 Australian Open.

“We hope it’s the beginning of the night or the other end, where we can have a cooked breakfast to go to our next game,” said Shepherd, who remembers Soler winning games when he was 13. Against the club’s best men.

Their most recent appearance at the club, which has about 120 members, was an exhibition in 2018, and they will invite Soler to a match in December.

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“We hope he comes and shows us a trophy or a medal or two,” Shepherd said.

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“I don’t know if we can get anything out of tennis, and it would be great if we did.”