The 22-year-old Hyeon Chung has been one of the most promising youngsters in the last three or four years, entering the top-100 at the age of 18 in 2015 and finishing that season just outside the top-50 after winning four Challenger titles!
The Korean's progress was halted in 2016, struggling with injuries and winning only six matches in the ATP tournaments by Roland Garros, skipping the following three months due to an abdominal injury. Returning in September with the ranking outside the top-140, Hyeon won two Challenger titles to end the year just outside the top-100, ready to challenge the players from the top-50 again in 2017.
Hyeon certainly did that, reaching the first ATP semi-final in Munich (losing to Nadal in Barcelona in the previous week) and achieving the best results at Grand Slams and Masters 1000 events to crack the top-50 for the first time in a career.
Nonetheless, the Korean couldn't play injury-free during the entire season, missing the whole grass swing with a left ankle injury and also skipping Tokyo and Shanghai before going all the way at the inaugural NextGen Masters in Milan where he defeated Andrey Rublev in the final to finish the season on a high note.
Eager for more success, Hyeon opened the 2018 season with a brilliant run in Melbourne, beating Novak Djokovic en route to his first Grand Slam semi-final where he was forced to retire against Roger Federer due to severe left foot blisters.
The youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist in eight years missed the next couple of weeks to recover and went on to reach the quarters at both Indian Wells and Miami, entering the top-20 for the first time in April. After positive signs in March, more bad news waited just around the corner as Hyeon was forced to skip almost the entire clay and grass season due to a lower leg injury, playing only Munich and Madrid and making a slow return in Atlanta at the end of July.
The ranking was still there but the results were not, winning just nine matches by the end of the season that had to be closed earlier than he expected due to right foot blisters. Still ranked in the top-25 thanks to those Australian Open points, the Korean spent the offseason in Thailand where he worked on his physical strength and on developing tools to play more aggressively.
Also, he searched for the solution for those blisters that have been bothering him since his early tennis days, looking for proper shoes that will help him to play without problems in the future. That wasn't his only problem, though, feeling the back pain for months and making a very slow start of 2019, competing in just five matches and none since Rotterdam!
Dropping almost all the points from the first five months of the season, the Korean is ranked outside the top-150 for the first time since February 2015 and there's no light at the end of the tunnel for him at the moment, withdrawing from Roland Garros qualifications and missing the second Grand Slam of the season for the second straight year.
At the moment, it is uncertain when we will see Hyeon on the court again but things don't look good for the talented youngster, having to withdraw from all the tournaments in the last three months even though he was in the main draw of some of them before deciding to skip the action in the very last moment.
Chung has no points to defend until July and he should gain ranking positions if he manages to get back on the court during the grass swing, which doesn't seem likely at this point.