I almost retired last year, reveals giant-killing Zhang


Zhang Shuai's shock first-round win over Australian Open second seed Simona Halep would not have happened had the Chinese qualifier followed through with her plans to retire after the US Open last year.

Tuesday saw 133rd-ranked Zhang break through for her first grand slam win after 14 previous attempts, with a 6-4 6-3 victory on Margaret Court Arena.

The result was an emotional one for Zhang, who was unable to hold back tears, following a horrendous run of form in 2015 which saw her drop from 30th in the world to 200th.

And, speaking afterwards, Zhang revealed she almost gave it all up as a result of not making the US Open main draw, telling reporters: "The last few months I was already 200th in the rankings. So it's very tough. I was feeling very sad every day. I almost retired.

"But so many people helped me. My coach, my parents, my team, also the national team. My sponsor always tried to help me and give me more motivation.

"Now I'm training hard, harder than before. I didn't think in two months I could beat the top-two player. It feels like a dream come true.

Zhang, 26, added: "Before when I had these feelings, everybody said 'no, come on, you're great player. You can come back soon. You have to keep going'.

"But I was feeling sad. I didn't know how I could keep going. Then I said I want to try one more time, only one more time. I will try one last tournament at the Australian Open.

"If it was not good, maybe I'd finish tennis. But I never thought I could win here in the first round."