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Tennis a ticket to Harvard for Swiss champion

Summer Games 7 August 2023

Henry von der Schulenburg (Switzerland) celebrates after winning the men’s singles title

“I wouldn’t have gotten into Harvard without tennis,” said men’s singles champion Henry Von Der Schulenburg of Switzerland.

“You have to have good grades and SAT scores. But not as high as if you didn’t play sports. That’s why it helped me so much to get in. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had a chance.”

Von Der Schulenburg is an example of how sports and academics can have a profound impact on one’s life. Without tennis, he wouldn’t have gone to Harvard, a private Ivy League research university in the United States.

Guo Hanyu (China) on top of the podium in women’s singles

Without his studies, he might never have had the chance to compete at the Chengdu FISU World University Games.

Without his participation, fans wouldn’t have witnessed an intense gold-medal battle Sunday, on the ninth and final day of tennis competition at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre.

The applied mathematics and economics major played a tight first set against Thailand’s Kasidit Samrej, winning 7-5 in a tiebreaker.

“And then the rain came, and there was a four-hour break. You just sit there. It was tough,” the 23-year-old said of the rain delay.

After several hours, the second set finally resumed.

Despite his best efforts, he ended up losing 4-6.

“Then I pulled myself together,” said the Swiss, who won the final set 6-1 to clinch the title.

The gold medal wasn’t the only reason for the Von Der Schulenburg family to celebrate in Chengdu, as the day before, younger brother Jeffrey claimed bronze in the men’s doubles.

“It’s insane. It’s amazing that we both won a medal. I think our parents are beyond happy. It was an incredible experience and hopefully we can come back in two years,” said Henry, who was supposed to play doubles at first but luckily ended up competing in singles.

The siblings’ efforts also earned Switzerland a silver medal in the men’s team competition.

Wu Fang hsien (Chinese Taipei) joined Hsu Yu-hsiou to win the mixed doubles final

Meanwhile, Hsu Yu-hsiou and Wu Fang-hsien’s victory in the mixed doubles sealed the deal for Chinese Taipei, which won both the women’s and men’s team titles.

The women’s singles title was claimed by China’s Guo Hanyu.

“I didn’t think I could win the gold medal,” the Southwest University student said.

But she did just that after coming back from a 2-6 first-set loss against Yang Ya-yi of Chinese Taipei.

“Although the score difference in the first set was big, I told myself ‘Calm down, you can do it.’ Even though I won in the end, I feel that there is not much difference in our levels,” shared Hanyu.

After finishing second in the women’s doubles on Saturday, Guo secured her second medal at the Chengdu FISU Games with identical 6-1 wins in the second and third sets.

After a long and eventful day, the smiles and happiness of the student-athletes reminded us once again that Chengdu makes dreams come true.

Written by Andjela Cegar, FISU Young Reporter