HYEON CHUNG – New Asian top player in the making?
In Asia, there is Kei Nishikori that managed to make it onto the top in mens tennis but there were no players that could “cover his back”. Countries such as China, Japan, Korea, India etc. are eagerly waiting for next Nishikori to happen.
10 years ago, probably nobody expected it to be Hyeon Chung. At that time, he had eyesight problems and that was actually the reason he started playing tennis – his doctor recommended that looking at the colour green/yellow would help.
But what started as a fun activity (parents – it still should! ), Hyeon’s progress was telling, this kid has something extra in him.
I first saw glimps of his play arround 2 years ago against Granollers and already then, he was showing big potential. Allthough there were and are still some areas of the game that have a lot of room for improvement, Chung also possesses quite some weapons.
Open Stance – Quick recovery
One thing that immediately stands out for me, when watching Chung play, is that he plays most of the shots from an open stance position. His main strenght comes in connection with that – in a defensive position, he is able to recover for the next shot incredibly fast – this is what Djokovic also does. Pay attention when he hits a ball on a stretch, without much of a backswing, putting weight on the outside leg for much shorter time than when on a neutral ball, the result is very effective – using most of the opponent’s power and ability to recover in a short time. For me, it’s one sexy shot, maybe because the feeling after I am able to put a winner of it, is amazing.
With connection to upper paragraph it is logical that Chung’s legs are fast. He is 1,85m but when looking at the volume of his quadriceps, hamstrings, we can imagine that ability to last a long match is also a logical consequence.
Style of play- Counter puncher
Hyeon is a counterpuncher which means he likes to use the power of opponent’s shot. So if his legs are working fine on the matchday he is causing heavy-hitting opponents quite some trouble. With quick feet and taking time away from the opponent, many points are won off the opponent going for too much.
Guys who hit really hard can bet almost everyone on a given day, but if you play with higher margin, there is a bigger chance of playing better on consecutive tournaments.
It probably comes within the culture, but still, Hyeon is already able to control his feelings on the court. Being able to be focused before a point and not get distracted, especially by own mistakes or not feeling best on a given day.
He also knows how to get pumped after important points and is willing to fight till the last point – certainly a part of the tennis game, which many players lack and represents a big added value.
Baseline play + Service/return + Volleys
Chung is solid on both wings but neither of the shots is ”Del Potro like forehand”. He has much more work to be done on his forehand, which is just slowly but gradually becoming a weapon. We can see players like Coric still struggling to get offensive with a forehand.
With 1,85m he is never gonna posses a Zverev like serve but in terms of speed and placement (both first and second serve), we should see improvement in incoming years.
As he is quick, agile, return is already on a relatively high level.
We rarely see players nowadays that are rock solid on the net, but Chung isn’t afraid to come forward when the ball is right and puts away volleys quite easily. He has good hands, which also comes in handy when you have to deal with opponent’s dropshots or do it on your own.
I don’ know why, but it seems, Hyeon Chung is still flying under the radar. Maybe it’s because of the glasses or the fact he is not having an explosive game like Rublev and Zverev. Chung is far from an established top, top player but with room to improvement and work ethic he seems to have, we should hear a lot more from this guy. Huge hitting will never be his thing, but quick feet and physical abilities in combination with mental strenght should get him much higher and possibly make him the next top Asian player.