Chung shakes hands with his 'idol' Djokovic after the match
What’s the story?
Hyeon Chung pulled off a major upset in the fourth round of the ongoing Australian Open when he beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets to reach the quarter-final, thus becoming the first South Korean player ever to reach this stage of the tournament.
He resembled Djokovic in many ways, even imitating the former World No.1's trademark celebration after winning a point during the match.
Speaking after the match, the youngster admitted that he is a huge Djokovic fan and idolises him and that he always tries to copy the Serb.
Former tennis star Jim Courier, who was taking the post-match interview, asked Chung how he managed to hit some of his shots, stating that it was almost like watching Djokovic.
The 21-year-old replied with a wide grin on his face, “I don’t know! When I was young I just tried to copy Novak because he’s my idol.”
In case you didn’t know…
Chung first came into the limelight when he won the Eddie Herr International and Junior Orange Bowl Boys under-12s titles in December 2008. Since then, he has come a long way. He started taking part on the ITF junior tour in 2012, and was runner-up in the 2013 Wimbledon Boys' Singles.
In 2014, he moved on to the professional circuit but it wasn’t until last year’s French Open that he qualified for a Major. This was the first time that he had made it past the second round in any Grand Slam tournament.
The heart of the matter
Chung impressed one and all during his match with Djokovic, hitting some astonishing shots. Djokovic, who is the most successful player in the history of the tournament, having won in Melbourne six times, struggled with an elbow injury throughout the match.
However, that does not undermine Chung’s exceptional performance. His shots resembled those of Djokovic’s, in terms of style and execution. He even celebrated the way Djokovic does, fists pumped and fingers pointing towards his chest.
The point of the match, though, came when Chung hit a terrific cross-court passing shot in the third-set tiebreaker to put him within two points of an unlikely victory.
Chung will now face another shock entrant in the quarter-finals, Tennys Sandgren, on Wednesday.
Chung may idolise Djokovic but today, he was far from starstruck as he played some of the best tennis in his life against the Serb.Published 22 Jan 2018, 17:54 IST