Heirs to the throne, Part III: Hyeon Chung

They are the future of tennis whose stars shone brightly in 2018. Here's everything you wanted to know.

Hyeon Chung at the 2018 Australian Open©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
 - Simon Cambers

They are the future of tennis whose stars shone brightly in 2018. Here's everything you wanted to know about their tennis, hobbies and personalities.

Here are five things to know about Hyeon Chung.

He shot to fame in Australia

Having won the Next Gen Finals at the end of 2017, a lot was expected of Chung but few would have believed he could do what he did at the Australian Open. Though wins over Mischa Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Sascha Zverev were surprising, it was his victory over Novak Djokovic that really propelled him to a new level.

In the end, it took some horrific-looking blisters on his feet to stop him in his semi-final against Roger Federer but if you can play like that once, you can do it again and again. He ended 2018 ranked No 25, a superb platform to make a big move in 2019.

Hyeon Chung backhand at the 2018 Australian Open©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT
Is he the new Djokovic?

“It was like watching Djokovic play against himself”. That was the general feeling as Chung took down the now world No 1 in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Hitting with an open stance on both sides with a two-handed backhand as good as anyone’s in the game, he stood his ground on the baseline and outplayed one of the greatest players of all time, at his own game.

Considering that Djokovic was Chung’s idol as a youngster, that was some compliment. “Today my dreams came true,” Chung said. Djokovic was impressed.  He definitely has the game to be a top-10 player, without a doubt.

Injuries cost him momentum

The blisters on his feet, which his agent described at the time as “blister upon blister, red raw”, were unfortunately just the beginning of a series of injury problems that affected Chung throughout the year. A niggling ankle injury caused Chung to miss both Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, costing him enormous exposure and the opportunity to earn big ranking points. Though he returned during the summer, he was never quite able to find the momentum, with his ankle injury still niggling in the background. He hopes that some rest and some off-season training should see him right for the start of next year.

Chung’s natty glasses have sparked a fashion trend

When Chung took up tennis at the age of six, he was told that looking at the colour green would help his eyesight. The South Korean’s trademark prescription glasses are a necessity for him and have earned him the nickname “The Professor”.

Apparently, though, his run to the semi-finals at the Australian Open in January also saw fans in South Korea rushing to the shops to order his Oakley glasses. Amazing what a grand slam run can do for business.

Chinese food always on the menu

During his brilliant performance in Melbourne, Chung was asked what food he liked to eat in Australia. Melbourne is renowned for its range of cuisine and the city hosts many outstanding Korean restaurants. But Chung risked the wrath of his countrymen and women when he revealed that he’d been venturing elsewhere for his pre-match food.

“I eat Chinese food (the) day before,” he said. “I don't like to eat Korean food match day before because (it is a) little bit heavy. I always eat Chinese food match day before. But I've never eaten Chinese food in China before. I don't know why. But here I always eat Chinese food. Maybe I try Chinese food in China later."Maybe he saved a night out at a Korean restaurant for the end of the tournament.