Born deaf, Duckhee Lee wins ATP tourney debut

22 Août, 2019, 14:09 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Lee Duck-hee

Duckhee Lee poses following a match at the Winston-Salem Open in Winston-Salem, NC on Monday.

On Monday the South Korean proved the doubters wrong by becoming the first deaf player to win a match in the main draw of the ATP Tour.

"My message for people who are hearing impaired is to not be discouraged", Lee said, according to the ATP Tour's website.

The 21-year-old, ranked below 2-hundreth in the world, beat Switzerland's Henri Laaksonen at the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina. "They told me I shouldn't be playing", said Lee through an interpreter.

"I wanted to show everyone that I could do this".

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Lee's career doesn't necessarily have to be defined by his lack of hearing, but what he's done to overcome what might be seen as a disadvantage by many is something that's worth admiring, and it's something that could serve as inspiration to plenty of others who find themselves in a similar position.

He admits that his disability can make life on court frustrating: he can't hear line calls or the umpire's call of the score and relies on gestures to sort out any confusion. Lee fired nine aces on his way to the groundbreaking victory. "To read the spins and to see how - like, if I was to play with headphones on, it's unbelievably hard to pick up the speed that the ball's coming at, the spin that's coming".

Andy Murray is trying hard, but he is still looking for his first singles victory of 2019 after losing 7-6 (8), 7-5 to the United States' Tennys Sandgren in the first round at Winston-Salem. "Physically, [I'm] OK considering - no pain, no discomfort".

"We [tennis players] use our ears a lot to pick things up". Even though Zhang won four games in a row in the second set, she was no match for her big-hitting opponent.

Vandeweghe, who recently returned from a lengthy absence caused by an ankle injury and like Ahn was given a wildcard into this week's new WTA tournament, lost 3-6, 0-6 to Anna Blinkova.

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