[EXCLUSIVE] Korean tennis star Kwon Soon-woo aims to enter world top 50
In the hyper-competitive world of professional tennis, only a handful of Asian men make the top 100 on the ATP Tour and South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo is one of them.
The 24-year-old is representing his country in the upcoming Davis Cup qualifiers against Austria in Seoul, where the men’s team are aiming for their first place in the round of 16 in fifteen years.
“We’re getting a lot of fan support since it’s home, so I just want to give them an entertaining performance.”
Now entering his prime, Kwon is closing in on breaking into the world top 50 and even won the first singles title of his career on the ATP Tour last year, becoming the second Korean to do so. after Lee Hyung-taik in 2003.
“What an honor it was to win an ATP Tour title. Some players in the top 50, even top 30 or top 20 don’t have such a title yet.”
“Not everyone expected him to win the Astana Open last year in 250 ATP, but he ended up winning this tournament. He had that champion’s spirit on him.”
But to continue his path to the top, Kwon urgently needs corporate sponsors so he can train in the most ideal environment. President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea and supporter of Korean tennis, James Kim, is trying to help him do it.
“So what I did for Soon-woo was really advise him on his tennis career, help him find the right partnerships because I really believe tennis is a global sport and a fantastic player. like Soon-woo really should have partnerships with global companies, especially American ones like me.”
“Having Mr. Kim help my career progress is like winning the lottery, really. I cannot express in words how grateful I am, especially at a time when he is so hard to get sponsorships.”
AMCHAM Korea has great faith in the budding star.
So confident, in fact, that Kim is willing to bet Kwon has the tools to beat one of the all-time greats.
“Well, if Roger Federer were to come to this tennis court today, I would bet a lot of money on Kwon Soon-woo to beat Roger Federer. It’s not because I’m disrespecting Roger, it’s is one of the best players in our history… I think Kwon Soon-woo’s game is so well suited to handle anyone.”
He hopes that with a strong Davis Cup campaign, the athlete can spark more public interest in Korean tennis and carry that momentum into the remaining three Grand Slam tournaments later this year.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.