”I got really interested in watching tennis, and I said, ‘Oh, why can’t I play?’” Lee Duck-hee said. “My cousin gave me the racket, I tried some strokes, and I liked it. I was really attracted to tennis; I just liked swinging the racket.”
His parents committed fully, too, placing high stakes on Lee’s nascent tennis career.
“It was not like a hobby or for fun; we were really serious,” Park said. “When his father and I had our first meeting with his first coach, we told him that we’re not here just for fun: we’re making his career and a future path. So, please, take these lessons seriously. If he has no chance and no potential, we won’t continue.”
Lee remained based in his family’s apartment in Jecheon, where his mother works as a hairdresser and his father as a reporter, but his tennis began to gain notice nationwide.
Even as Lee’s wins piled up through each successive age bracket, many parents and coaches remained doubtful.
“Ninety percent of the coaching staff and parents and family of other players, they always said Duck-hee cannot reach a professional level,” Park said. “They always said that this is elementary school level and…