Hyeon Chung was on a roll, having reached the semi-final of the Australian Open in January 2018 (he retired hurt) and climbing to number 19 in the world rankings. But then a back injury derailed his progress and he was forced to rest for five months. Last week, Chung recorded a significant landmark in his comeback with an impressive win in Chengdu, his first title since the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals. “I’m really happy and I’m looking forward to playing even more,” said Chung. “The weather here was really hot and humid and I played three long matches in a row. I was trying to stay calm all the time and fight for every point. It feels great to be back on court and without pain. I practised really hard to get here.”
How do you reflect on that Australian Open semi-final in January 2018?
I’m proud of what I achieved in Australia. It is my best career performance and gave me lots of confidence. I think the experience at the stadium with the big crowds and playing against one of the best players in the world will remain as one of the best memories for the rest of my life.
What was the reaction in South Korea when you reached the semi-final?
It was sensational. It was the first time for a Korean player to be a Grand Slam semi-finalist in tennis history and lots of media covered it as the top story. I received many congratulatory messages including one from the president of Korea.
What was your welcome home like?
More than 100 media people came out to the airport to see me. I was surprised!