Hsieh Su-Wei is the best women’s doubles player in the world


When Hsieh Su-Wei walked on the court to play doubles at the Miami Open in March with her partner, Elise Mertens, she wasn’t burdened by a cumbersome tennis bag holding half a dozen rackets, an assortment of snacks and multiple changes of clothes and shoes.

Despite being No. 1 in the world in doubles, Hsieh, 38, wore an outfit that she bought off the rack and that bore none of the logos associated with lucrative sponsorship deals that many of her colleagues on the WTA Tour have. Until recently, Hsieh had no manager, requiring her to sell herself to sponsors. Her efforts so far have been unsuccessful.

“It’s not an easy job dealing with the sponsorship when the people are not sure if they are going to have you or not,” said Hsieh, who typically competes with just two rackets, which she said was no problem since she had never broken one and could not remember the last time – she even popped a string. “I don’t want to waste the time to do it. I just want to focus on my tennis.”

Hsieh has never been consumed by the trappings of her sport, preferring to travel her own circuitous path. An accomplished singles player, she ranked a career high No. 23 in 2013 but has never gone beyond the quarterfinals at a ma-jor. She first ascended to No. 1 in doubles in 2014, winning Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014, both with Peng Shuai. She won her second Wimbledon in 2019 with Barbora Strycova and her third with Mertens two years later.

After leaving the tour for nearly 18 months at the end of 2021 to heal a nagging muscle strain in her leg that had her contemplating retirement, Hsieh returned in April of last year and has now won three of the last four majors, each with a different partner. At last year’s French Open, she paired with Wang Xinyu, who is nearly 16 years her junior, to win the championship. Hsieh then captured Wimbledon with Strycova.

Last fall, after Strycova retired following the U.S. Open, Mertens messaged Hsieh and asked her to join forces for this season. The two promptly won the Australian Open in January (Hsieh also won the mixed doubles title with Jan Zielinski) and the doubles title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March. That win helped her regain No. 1. “We really feel each other on the court and we have a lot of communication,” Mertens said. “It’s rare to find someone where you build toward each other and can also think, ‘Let’s improve together?” Hsieh, who retired from singles play this spring, knows that her time on tour is running out, but she is not consumed by that fact. Nothing much bothers the native of Taipei, Taiwan, whose style of play, like her personality, is at times pre-cise, explosive and crafty. Sometimes even she doesn’t know what shot she’ll hit and when.

She hits with both hands off both sides, a style necessitated by her slight frame when she started playing with her father at age 5. She glides effortlessly to the net and perpetually eyes opportunities to sneak in and knock off volley win-ners. Her tour mates call her Wizard for her confounding shotmaking.

Hsieh no longer has a steady coach, though Paul McNamee accompanies her to the majors, including this French Open. At home in Paris, where she has lived for almost a decade, she often practices with her boyfriend, Frederic Aniere, occasionally at Roland Garros. On the road she is sometimes joined by her brother, Hsieh Cheng-peng, and his tennis-playing children. She finds that having different voices in her ear helps keep the game fresh.

Hsieh would love to represent Taiwan in the Paris Olympics this July, something she has not done since 2012 when she lost in the first round in singles and the quarterfinals in doubles.

“Winning the Grand Slams is the first priority for me,” she said. “But I always want to win a medal for Taiwan. For me, that would be something special!” After traveling the world for nearly a quarter of a century, Hsieh was asked what kept her going. She let out a laugh. “That’s a good question, because I’m asking myself what I’m doing here,” she said. “I just try to enjoy first and the answer will come out someday. I’m not in a rush.”


Hsieh Su-Wei has won three of the last four women’s doubles majors, each with a different partner. She first ascended to No. 1 in doubles in 2014, winning Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014. She won her second Wimbledon in 2019, and her third two years later.