每日跟讀#500: Mom Sells Tomatoes as Her Son Seeks Tennis Titles
It should have been one of the happiest times of Yu Te Tseng’s life. But Tseng, the father of the world’s best male junior tennis player, lowered his head and put his right hand to his eyes, trying to stem the flow of tears.
He was sitting in a garden at the United States Open in September after his son, Chun Hsin, had won another big match. But while a friend patted him on the back, Tseng needed more than a minute to compose himself and explain his sadness.
For years, Tseng has coached his son, 17, who plans to turn professional at a tournament in Hong Kong at the end of the month. For years, father and son have traveled the globe while Chun Hsin, also known as Jason, soared from a working class background in Taipei, Taiwan, to the top of the junior tennis rankings.
He tore through the competition in 2018, reaching the final of the Australian Open junior singles tournament in January and winning the French Open junior title in June and Wimbledon’s in July. He was also a semifinalist in the U.S. Open boys event, and finished the year as the No. 1 junior.
But while he was achieving all that with his father by his side, Tseng’s mother remained in Taipei, running the family’s small food stand and looking after his 15-year-old brother, Yun Di Tseng.
For his mother, Chung Han Tsai, the heavy workload has taken a toll.The family owns a stall at the Lehua night market in Taipei, where they sell tanghulu, a treat made of glazed fruit and tomatoes on a stick. They stay on their feet from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m., with hardly a moment to spare for a break.
Tseng first played tennis at age 5 with his father, who likes to be called Ed. Within a few years, Jason had demonstrated unusual talent, and his father discovered that his night job was suddenly an advantage. It enabled him to train his son during the day.
On a typical day, Ed Tseng would work at the night market and get to sleep around 2 a.m. He would wake up three and a half hours later for early-morning practices, after which he and his son would return home, shower and prepare for school. The father would then sleep a bit more before rejoining his son for afternoon practice. Then it was back to work with his wife.
On some nights, Jason and his brother would make the five-minute walk from their home to join their parents at the market, doing their homework there or pitching in by peeling tomatoes. But Jason’s focus and dreams were always on tennis.“In that moment, I don’t have a lot of time to go out with friends and do relaxing things,” he said. “I was always working, working. That is how the professional player has to do it.”
Jason Tseng said he does not really like the treats his parents sell. He prefers ice cream, although he eliminated it from his training diet. He indulged in his favorite treat twice recently, though: to celebrate winning the French Open and Wimbledon junior titles.
Tsai could not make those trips. She remained in Taipei, selling tanghulu. But when Jason plays, Ed sends her updates. In a recent email, he said his wife told him that Jason’s victories buoyed her spirit, making her stand stronger in the moment.
But the arrangement is no longer tenable with her physical condition. Tsai needs rest to recover, and Ed said this week that in the spring, the family plans to shutter the business. Legally, it cannot be sold, just closed. But now that Jason will be earning some money on tour, the investment in his future may pay off and the financial burden eased.
Source article: https://cn.nytimes.com/sports/20181227/chun-hsin-tseng-taiwan/zh-hant/dual/
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