Zheng Qinwen reunites with former coach in bid for top 10 push

Qinwen Zheng

Rising Chinese star Zheng Qinwen has announced that she has reunited with former coach Pere Riba as she seeks a top 10 breakthrough in the 2024 campaign.

The World No 15 said on Sunday on Instagram that she was going “back to the original” when she announced that she will once again be working with her longstanding former trainer.

Zheng admitted at the end of her season that she was disappointed to have missed out on achieving some of her goals for the season.

The Chinese star had hoped to push to make her WTA Finals debut in 2023 and to break into the top ten for the first time.

“Reunited after some time apart, ready to embark on the journey together and prepare for the upcoming year,” she wrote.

Zheng and Riba collaborated starting in 2021 and parted ways this year following Roland Garros. Under Riba’s guidance, Zheng, who bases herself in Barcelona, went from outside the Top 100 to inside the Top 30, and in 2022 she was awarded the WTA’s Newcomer of the Year accolade.

After the end of her time with Riba, Zheng recruited Belgian Wim Fissette, who helped her get to the US Open quarterfinals this summer and win her first career singles championship in Palermo. However, they broke up soon after, with Fissette opting to work again with Naomi Osaka, his previous employee, who is slated to return to tennis in 2024 following the birth of her first child.

The Chinese star did not take that decision well and slammed Fissette during a press conference at the Asian Games where she was competing when she learned that Fissette was jumping ship.

“He broke the contract and it is very immoral. This is his choice and I will respect that. Even though this brings some harm to me and my family. I don’t want to talk about that person right now, don’t want to talk about him,” Zheng said of the coach at the time.

Before Wimbledon, Riba teamed up with American Coco Gauff and accompanied her together with co-coach Brad Gilbert for a scorching summer that resulted in her maiden Grand Slam singles victory at the US Open. After less than six months, they too split: Gauff revealed her separation from Riba at the WTA Finals in Cancun.

The 21-year-old Zheng finished her season in October by taking home her second career WTA championship in Zhengzhou. She also advanced to the WTA Elite Trophy final in Zhuhai. She was working with Rob Brandsma, her fitness coach, who assumed the position of head coach until the end of their campaign.

READ MORE: Brad Gilbert has been a gamechanger for US Open champion Coco Gauff