The past couple of years has seen many rising stars on the ATP circuit. The good news is that a lot of them are making their way to the top of the rankings and are not turning out to be one match wonders.
The young brigade, a lot of them still teens, is made up of Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev. Kyrgios earned his moment of fame when he beat Rafael Nadal in last year’s edition of Wimbledon. Coric also came to limelight last year when he beat Nadal at the Basel Open. However, there is one other rising star on the ATP who has been quietly working his way up the rankings and his name is Hyeon Chung.
- Chung was born on May 19th, 1996 in South Korea.
- Chung started to wear glasses at a very young age. The only reason he took up tennis was to help him maintain his eyesight. Today, the 18-year-old Chung wears prescription sports glasses which has become his trademark.
- In 2008, he won the Boys under-12 title at the Eddie Herr International and Junior Orange Bowl.
- IMG was quick to spot this immensely talented teenager. Chung joined the Nick Bollitieri Tennis Academy at IMG in Florida, along with his brother Chung Hong in 2009. Chung’s father is also a tennis coach and seldom speaks about his son’s success.
“He is intentionally not talking about tennis,” Chung said. “He doesn’t want to give me any pressure. He just wants me to enjoy and play.” Hope other tennis parents around the world take a lesson or two from Chung’s father.
- He is the highest ranked male player from Korea since Hyung Taik-Lee who had reached a career high ranking of 36 in the year 2007. With the speed at which Chung is climbing the rankings, that day is not too far when he may end up being the highest ranked male player from South Korea. When Chung visits his native Suwon, he interacts with Hyung Taik-Lee and also practices with him occasionally.
- In 2013, a month after winning his first Futures Title, Chung reached the Boy’s singles final at Wimbledon. He lost to Gianluigi Quinzi, a fellow IMG prodigy, but it would be interesting to note that he defeated both Kyrgios and Coric on his way to the finals.
- Chung looked unstoppable in 2014 as he won 3 ITF Future titles and the Bangkok Challenger. These achievements helped him move up the rankings by almost 400 places. From being World No.541, Chung was ranked No.151 by end of 2014. The same year also saw him win a Doubles Gold at the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon.
- According to analysts, his serve is one element of his game that needs a lot of improvement. It lacks the punch that a player of 183 cm is usually able to generate. His strength lies in his flashy forehand as he hits the ball hard off that wing backed up by great racquet head speed.
- At the Miami Masters this March, Chung qualified and also managed to win one round at the ATP Masters 1000 Event before he fell to Tomas Berdych in straight sets. After his first encounter with a Top 10 player, Chung said “I was definitely under stress, but I was trying to do my best. I felt a little bit like I was playing inside the TV, like I was on the outside looking in.”
- On 11th May 2015, Chung reached a career high singles ranking of 69. He intends to play more Challenger Events as he feels it is a great learning ground and will set him up nicely for the next level of competition. His nation is not tennis rich and Chung has taken the road less traveled. Given his commitment to the game, he will be able to put South Korea on the map over the next couple of years.