The tennis world was struck with some devastating news this morning as the popular South Korean star, Hyeon Chung, withdrew from the French Open. The news was somewhat expected, but nonetheless a shock considering Chung was looking to play in Lyon just a week before the start of Roland Garros.
The world #20 released a statement on his social media announcing his withdrawal from the second Grand Slam of 2018:
“Unfortunately I had to withdraw from Lyon Yesterday and now Roland Garros. I have been struggling with an ankle injury during the entire clay season. An MRI scan has revealed that I have a build up of fluid in the ankle joint which might require a small procedure and then an extended period of rest. Thanks to everyone for all the support. Hope to see you soon and be back to full strength!”
The 22-year-old has been one of the best players so far in 2018 and arguably the most consistent. That is shown clearly by his results and the fact that he is currently siting at #8 in the ATP Race to London. Qualifying for the season ending championships must surely be a firm goal for the South Korean, although his withdrawal from Roland Garros will make the feat significantly tougher.
Out of his nine tournaments this year, he has reached the quarterfinal stage in seven of them (all of which were consecutive). These last eight showings came in the grandest of tournaments, including Indian Wells, Miami, and a stunning semifinal appearance at the Australian Open, where he was forced to retire to eventual champion Roger Federer.
His current ranking of #20 will drop a touch as he made the third round of Roland Garros in 2017, before falling to Kei Nishikori in five sets. The Japanese star will look to take full advantage of this opportunity to return to the Asian #1 spot. Nishikori sits one place below Chung in the ATP rankings, at #21, but must defend his quarterfinal points from last year.
The primary target for Hyeon Chung will be to get back to full fitness, everything else can wait. Chung plays a very physical game and he relies heavily on his movement, so he will not be looking to return to tour until he is fully fit. The 22-year-old may set his sights on the grass court season so he can get some matches under his belt before Wimbledon.
Despite his incredible success thus far on hard and clay courts, Chung can also play brilliant tennis on the grass and has already shown his pedigree on the surface. The South Korean made the Wimbledon Junior final back in 2013. If he is to return in time for Wimbledon, it would mark just his second senior main draw appearance at The All England Club.
The news of Hyeon Chung’s withdrawal from Roland Garros this morning was upsetting to say the least and the tournament will miss him greatly. The young man has a mature head on his shoulders and that is what makes him such a great player. Chung’s mentality will be what gets him through this injury as he looks ahead to the future. Hyeon Chung will be back.