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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Duckhee-Lee is Unique ! ~ Nick Kyrgios is angry ever !!

The Winston-Salem Open is a charitable non-profit whose proceeds benefit many local charities.  It is part of US Open Series that  has established itself as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking seven summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer through national television coverage, culminating each week with back-to-back men’s and women’s finals every Sunday afternoon.

Winston-Salem is a city in and the county seat of Forsyth County, North Carolina, United States. Winston-Salem is home to the tallest office building in the region, 100 North Main Street, formerly the Wachovia Building and now known locally as the Wells Fargo Center. Winston-Salem is called the "Twin City" for its dual heritage and "City of the Arts and Innovation" for its dedication to fine arts and theater and technological research. "Camel City" is a reference to the city's historic involvement in the tobacco industry related to locally based R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's Camel cigarettes.

Lee Duck-hee tossed the ball into the air for his first serve in an ATP tournament match at Winston-Salem, and blasted it past his opponent with a loud pop – but he knew nothing of it !!!

Elsewhere, in the Tennis world, Nick Kyrgios’s feud with umpire Fergus Murphy boiled over during an explosive outing at the Cincinnati Masters that left the Australian player $AU167,000 lighter in the pocket and facing a possible suspension from the ATP. Kyrgios flared up at the end of the second set and never regained his composure, breaking two rackets during a bathroom break Murphy had refused him permission to take, before appearing to call the umpire a “fucking tool” at the conclusion of the match. The $US113,000 fine represents 10% of the player’s earnings for the year in which he has won two titles – the Acapulco International in March and this month’s Citi Open in Washington. A suspension could impact his ability to compete at the US Open although it is unclear whether the tournament organisers would honour the suspension if it is handed down.
During the match, Kyrgios called Murphy, who he has previous history with, “the worst ref in the game, hands down”. He added: “Every time I play he’s doing some stupid shit, every time.” The outburst earned him a court violation. In stark contrast to the volatile Kyrgios, on the other side of the net the Russian eighth seed, Karen Khachanov, stayed cool despite the distractions to secure his place in the third round of the US Open warm-up tournament with a 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 win. Kyrgios, who took the first set despite an apparent ankle problem, boiled over in the ninth game of the second as he railed over the timing of the service clock – he felt it was being started too early, leaving him to rush his first serves. Addressing Murphy, he brought up Rafael Nadal’s notoriously slow service routine and said he would retire from tennis if “Rafa plays that quick”.

Kyrgios lost the second set in a tie-breaker and continued his tirade against Murphy as the players sat down, earning himself the court violation. Having been denied a bathroom break by the umpire as there was not enough time remaining at the changeover, Kyrgios took off regardless towards the changerooms, where he smashed two rackets against the wall before returning to court. He escaped any further sanctions at the time as the officials who accompanied him did not see anything untoward.

Getting back, Duckhee Lee did not hear his own blasting past his opponent for the  21-year-old South Korean never heard any of them. He was born deaf. The tour’s first deaf professional player says he doesn’t want to be defined by the disability that he has overcome well enough to play at the sport’s highest level. His first appearance in a top-level tournament will last at least until the second round. Lee beat Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open on Monday, earning a matchup with No 3 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.

As much as the opening-round victory meant to Lee and his career, it might have meant even more to hearing-impaired athletes in all sports.  That way, South Korea’s Duckhee Lee is the first-ever deaf @ATP_Tour player - and picked up his first ATP win in Winston-Salem.  “Don’t be discouraged and if you try hard, you can do anything, you can achieve anything you want,” Lee said through an interpreter, adding that he “doesn’t want people to get discouraged and get down about their disability”. The ability to hear carries a particular importance in tennis. Players often insist on silence during points so they can hear the ball off their opponent’s strings and identify the spin in a split-second. Lee makes up for it with his eyes, sharpening his focus on his opponent’s swing, how that player makes contact and the speed and spin of the ball as it’s racing toward him.

Complicating things further, he also doesn’t speak English, reads lips instead of using sign language, and relies on hand gestures from umpires making calls. Because he can’t hear the score announcements, he keeps track of points and games in his head – which can be more difficult in smaller events that don’t have courtside scoreboards. It led to a hiccup early during his main-draw debut when he lined up to serve after a game had been decided. “I think (the umpire) forgot to give the signal” at times during the match, he said, adding that he “was hoping he would give in and out signals”. The debut in Winston-Salem marked the next step up the tennis ladder for Lee, who started playing tennis at age 7 – the year after he realized he was deaf, though doctors had diagnosed his condition as a toddler. “People made fun of (me) because of the disability and said (I) shouldn’t be playing,” Lee said, adding that his motivation was to “enjoy (my) life by overcoming my disability”.

He’ll always remember his first ATP-level victory – and not just because of the result. Lee was two points away from sealing the victory when thunderstorms forced a weather delay of nearly five hours. He and Laakonsen came back to the court at roughly 10:15 ppm – and wrapped up their match in 87 seconds.

Congratulations to the achiever – Duckhee Lee

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st Aug 2019.

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