Rising star Chung on the 'Murray' path to greater success

South Korea's 19-year-old Chung Hyeon, currently ranked 51st in the world, hitting a return to Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka during their second-round match at the US Open in New York last September.
South Korea's 19-year-old Chung Hyeon, currently ranked 51st in the world, hitting a return to Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka during their second-round match at the US Open in New York last September.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Substitute the South Korean city of Suwon for Dunblane in Scotland and you have a very familiar story: The second son of a tennis coach who grew up swinging a racket from a very early age.

And, intriguingly, Chung Hyeon honed his infant skills practising repeatedly in a highly-competitive manner with his left-handed older brother.

A decade on from Andy Murray's arrival in the world's top 20 after he captured the first of a collection of ATP World Tour titles that stands at 35, Chung appears on the verge of a notable year.

The 19-year-old already stands in 51st position on the men's world rankings and warrants a main-draw place in the season-opening Brisbane International alongside the likes of Roger Federer, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonic.

Chung has identified himself in the past 12 months as a player with huge potential and he received the ATP World Tour's award for the most improved player of the year.

Like Murray and so many others before him, he won a spate of Challenger titles in a short space of time; four within seven months in such diverse venues as Burnie, in Australia, Savannah in the deep south of the United States, Busan in South Korea and Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei.

POTENTIAL TENNIS STAR

He is one of the most promising players, along with Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev and Thanasi Kokkinakis. They are the future of tennis.''

GORAN IVANISEVIC, former Wimbledon champion, after seeing Chung Hyeon play in Seoul

Goran Ivanisevic, the former Wimbledon champion, had the opportunity to view Chung's talents in Seoul recently and said: "He is one of the most promising players, along with Borna Coric, Alexander Zverev and Thanasi Kokkinakis. They are the future of tennis."

Chung's game is based on an unorthodox technique, with his ground-strokes and a particularly potent backhand that generates great speed. His movement around the court is exemplary and that he has worn spectacles since the age of seven is clearly not a handicap.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 05, 2016, with the headline 'Rising star Chung on the 'Murray' path to greater success'. Print Edition | Subscribe