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Chung Smiling Through The Pain

His fairy tale run Down Under ended in the pain of blisters on Rod Laver Arena on Friday night, but Hyeon Chung is taking nothing but positives out of his semi-final showing at the Australian Open.

With Roger Federer’s plaudits ringing in his ears as he left the court – “I think he's going to achieve next level excellence - Top 10 [in the ATP Rankings] for sure.” – the 21-year-old South Korean said he is leaving Melbourne with a lot of confidence.

The Next Gen ATP Finals champion had toppled Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev en route to his maiden Grand Slam semi-final, but was unable to bring his best against Federer as blisters took their toll. In his post-match press conference, Chung’s agent, Stuart Duguid, explained, “It's worse than regular blisters. Over the last few days, it was blister under blister under blister. He had it shaved off. Now it's red raw.

“They tried injections to see if it numbed the pain. It didn't work. Much worse than a regular blister. Because he has played so many matches in the row, I think that's why it was a build-up. I think that's how they started."

Hyeon Chung, the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion, advanced to the semi-finals of the Australian Open, a career-best result
“[I was] really honored to play with Roger in [the] semis [of a] Grand Slam,” said Chung. “I'm just learning a lot. He played really good today.

“I think [I took] a lot of confidence. I played a lot of good players in the last two weeks. I can play more comfortable on the court with the great players like Roger. I think I can play better next time,” added the South Korean, who has made history at home and garnered huge national interest with his run at Melbourne Park.

“I really didn't know I'm going to make it in semis,” said Chung, who is projected to reach a career-high in the ATP Rankings of No. 29 on Monday. When asked if would have to re-evaluate his goals already for the 2018 season, the right-hander responded, “I think I already made a few goals, because I make highest ranking in Korea, highest result in Grand Slam. I made two goals. Next goal is I want to finish the season without injury. I have to recover well.

“I'm just trying to enjoy all the time. I'm just trying my best in the future.”


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