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Grand Slam winner Routliffe, Sun to pair up for Paris tennis

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Grand Slam winner Routliffe, Sun to pair up for Paris tennis

Grand Slam winner Erin Routliffe and emerging star Lulu Sun have been named to represent New Zealand in doubles at the Paris Olympic Games.

Both players, confirmed on Wednesday by the New Zealand Olympic Committee after being nominated by Tennis New Zealand, will make their Olympic debuts in Paris.

Routliffe, the US Open women's doubles winner, is ranked third in the world in doubles. She finished runner-up in the pre-Wimbledon event in Eastbourne at the weekend and is preparing for her doubles campaign at the premier English tournament, where she is the No 2 seed with Canadian partner Gaby Dabrowski.

In Paris, she will be joined by Sun, the highest ranked New Zealander in singles, currently No 123 in singles and 220 in doubles.

Twenty-three year old Sun this week won her first match at a grand slam, with a three-set victory over Wimbledon number 8 seed Qinwen Zheng of China.

Tennis New Zealand chief executive Julie Paterson said the organisation was thrilled to have a women's doubles combination heading to Paris.

"We have one of the world's best in this form of the game in Erin, and with the international emergence of Lulu this year, the team has a real chance at success.

"The medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games by Marcus Daniell and Michael Venus was one of the biggest highlights for tennis in New Zealand and it would be incredible if our women's team could emulate that success this time around."

Routliffe, whose parents are Canadian, was born in New Zealand but represented Canada at junior level, before changing her allegiance to New Zealand in 2017.

"It's a lifelong dream of mine to go to the Olympics and represent New Zealand," Routliffe said.

"Playing with Lulu is exciting, we've both had good years I think, so it's really exciting for us."

Sun, who was born in Te Anau, moved to Florida at a young age and then to Switzerland, representing that country as a junior before switching her allegiance to her country of birth this year. She debuted for New Zealand at the 2024 Billie Jean King Cup event held in China, in June.

"It's any athlete's dream to be an Olympian, so I'm super pumped to be able play with Erin in Paris," Sun said.

Routliffe, 29, has been on the tennis circuit for a decade, rising steadily up the doubles rankings. Her breakout season came in 2023 with Dabrowski, highlighted by the pair winning the US Open. She became the first New Zealander to compete in the WTA Finals, where she and Dabrowski reached the semifinal.

Her success has continued in 2024, finishing runner-up at the Miami Open, making the semifinals of the Australian Open and reaching a career-high WTA doubles ranking of No 2.

Sun spent her early tennis development in Switzerland before taking up a scholarship at the University of Texas, where she won the clinching match to claim the NCAA Championship.

Sun gained a main-draw win at the 2024 ASB Classic, after coming through qualifying, and followed this by qualifying for the Australian Open singles main draw.

She had her first WTA 1000 level win in Dubai, moving inside the top 150 rankings for the first time, before winning World Tennis Tour W100 singles and doubles titles at the same tournament in Florida to reach career-high world rankings in both singles and doubles.

Grand Slam winner Routliffe, Sun to pair up for Paris tennis | RNZ News

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