Finishing the season outside the top-100 for the first time since 2016, Hyeon Chung is ready to work on a comeback ahead of 2020, heading to Bangkok for three weeks before flying to Australia, kicking off the action at the Canberra Challenger.
Talented Korean claimed the title at the Next Gen Masters in 2017, advancing into the semi-final at the Australian Open next January and cracking the top-20 in April. Hyeon had to miss 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, struggling to find the form and winning rhythm.
The ranking was still there but the results were not, winning just nine matches by the end of the season that he had to conclude earlier than 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, working on his physical strength and on developing tools to play more aggressively in 2019 and avoid those injuries that had prevented him from achieving even more.
Exploring the solutions for those blisters, Hyeon also felt the back pain for months and there was nothing he could do to make them go away, competing in just five matches this year and none between Rotterdam and Chengdu Challenger in August!
With only 45 points gained in the first five months, the Korean dropped out from the top-150 for the first time since February 2015, improving his position a little bit after claiming the title in Chengdu in the comeback event, advancing into the third round at the US Open and the quarter-final in Tokyo, staying outside the top-100 but making a solid starting position ahead of 2020.
Hyeon's goal is to stay healthy in the season ahead of us and improve his ranking, also hoping to play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. "All athletes want to play at the Olympics," Chung said in Seoul. "If I get a chance, I hope to make the national team and try to win some matches at the Olympics.
It is difficult for me to use other shoes so I hope the Korea Tennis Association considers this issue before the Olympics. I missed half of the season because of the injuries, but I positively overcame them. I will start my off-season training next week in Bangkok for three weeks with other players before heading to Australia."