Hyeon Chung (Photo Sportsseoul)
Good news from South Korea for the talented and hapless Hyeon Chung. The former 2018 Australian Open semi-finalist, who has been sidelined for over two years with an endless string of injuries (mainly to his back), will return to Europe next June to compete in the British Turf Challengers and also try his hand at the qualifiers at Wimbledon taking advantage of protected placement. The newspaper reports about it sports soulto which Chung stated, “There is no frustration, the challenge continues.” I’ve experienced good physical response at the tournaments in Korea.”
In fact, the 27-year-old from Suwon returned to the field during the Seoul Open Challenger in late April, losing to world No. 91 Jordan Thompson but playing a good game physically. Then two weeks ago he also played in Busan and challenged the Japanese Uchiyama in three sets. Two games and two losses, but confirmation that his body is ready to try the Tour again outside his country.
Hyeon therefore decided to take advantage of the protected rankings opportunity (where he is ranked 159th) to play on grass at the Challenger 125 in Surbiton, which begins on June 5th, and at the other Challenger 125 the following week in Ilkley. The Korean’s goal is to create good sensations on the pitch and try to qualify for Wimbledon, where he is 28th thanks to the protected rating.
Wimbledon is an important tournament for Chung: we still remember his 2013 junior tournament final, where he defeated Gianluigi Quinzi.
As reported by Korean media, Chung is currently without a coach. In recent weeks he has been training with young Lee Deok Hee at Hankuk University of Physical Education and at nearby Seoul Olympic Park Camp.
The tennis player’s mother, Kim Young Mi, said, “Hyeon has regained his confidence by playing at the Seoul Open and Busan Open.” Luckily, I can use the protected leaderboard and try to compete in tournaments abroad. He is looking for an away coach, to be announced soon.”
Chung will be back playing outside Korea after more than two and a half years: his last game before the long break was qualifying for Roland Garros 2020, where he lost in the second round to Argentinian Renzo Olivo.