After capturing the French Open women's doubles title last month, Pearly Tan attributed the recent success to her long-lasting friendship with partner M. Thinaah stretching way beyond the courts.

According to the 22-year-old, she was a reserved character when she joined the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) nine years ago.

Thinaah, quite the opposite, quickly became her friend and their friendship blossomed from there.

“I knew Thinaah when she was a singles player. In fact, she was my first friend at BJSS. I was a shy person when I joined BJSS, but Thinaah was really friendly and we quickly became friends.

“Our friendship is definitely a great asset to our partnership. We talk a lot about life and our targets outside the courts too. On court, we have full belief and confidence in each other.

“Even in our game now we are more daring with our shots, we try to be more adventurous. So it’s a good thing,” Tan said.

Tan-Thinaah became the country’s latest sensations after they beat Japan’s two-time world champions Mayu Matsumoto-Wakana Nagahara in Paris for their biggest career success to date.

But only a month prior, Tan was left a disconsolate figure after injuring her left knee in the Japan Open second round which ended with her leaving the court on a wheelchair.

“I was quite disappointed to get that injury in Japan, because we were in top form. But when I returned, the coaches spoke to me, the physios helped me and my partner encouraged me. So I learnt to let that go.

“I learnt a lot from that. More than anything, I appreciated being back on court and was grateful to overcome that setback,” she reflected.

The French Open triumph also made them become more prominent public figures.

“Quite a lot has changed actually. We are recognised more often when we go out. But for us it’s the same, we are focused in training and preparing as usual for our next tournament.

“We are excited for the World Tour Finals after qualifying for it. We don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves, and just focus on doing our best.

“As for our future aspirations, we want to become more confident and break into the top five.”