Lee Duck-hee becomes first deaf player to win a match on the ATP tour
World No 212 Lee Duck-hee downplays his deafness as he wins on his ATP tour debut
Last Updated: 20/08/19 4:45pm
Lee Duck-hee made history by becoming the first deaf player to win an ATP main draw match at the Winston-Salem Open on Monday.
The 21-year-old South Korean, who was born deaf, beat Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 in the first round, earning a match-up with No 3 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.
"People made fun of me for my disability. They told me I shouldn't be playing," said Lee through an interpreter. "It was definitely difficult, but my friends and family helped me get through. I wanted to show everyone that I could do this.
"My message for people who are hearing impaired is to not be discouraged. If you try hard, you can do anything."
Lee made his debut on the ITF Futures Tour at the age of 14 and won eight titles before he turned 18.
He reached three finals of the ATP Challenger Tour, including one in June, falling to Dudi Sela at the Baptist Health Little Rock Open in Arkansas.
Speaking about Lee's achievement, Britain's Andy Murray has been amazed by how well the South Korean has done considering his impairment.
"I'm never going to know what that's like to compete like that," Murray said. "But he's obviously doing extremely well. So it's obviously an unbelievable achievement.
"I know how important hearing is in tennis," he added. "To read the spins and to see how like, if I was to play with headphones on, it's unbelievably difficult to pick up the speed that the ball's coming at, the spin that's coming. We use our ears a lot to pick things up."
Follow us at the US Open
We will have the US Open covered via our website skysports.com/tennis. On the move? Head to our app for mobile devices and iPad, or follow our Twitter account @SkySportsTennis to join in the conversation.