Lee becomes first deaf player to win an ATP main draw match


Lee Duck-hee became the first deaf player to win an ATP Tour main draw match on Monday when the South Korean defeated Henri Laaksonen 7-6(4) 6-1 in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open.

The 21-year-old fired nine aces on the way to claiming the win after a lengthy rain delay on the hardcourts in North Carolina.

Diagnosed as deaf at the age of two, Lee cannot hear calls from the line judges or the umpire and relies on signals and gestures for the information.

"People made fun of me for my disability. They told me I shouldn't be playing," Lee said after the match.

"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."

Next up for Lee is a second-round meeting with third seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland on Tuesday.



Bionic Poster
I play with several "seniors" and they are almost there in terms of deafness.

Do pros really cue off on the sound of the ball during impact of the opponent and off the bounce or is that a myth?


Americans with DIsabilities Act could mean tournaments in the US will have to have ASL interpreter handy.
I Think the biggest disadvantage is Coaching. Unless they find a coach who can do sign language they can basically just emulate after the coach showing. Now as a pro his coach probably can do this but at the youth level that is hard to find. In an actual match I think the disadvantage isn't that big albeit I have heard of players getting signals about ball speed and depth and sometimes even spin by hearing the contact so he might get some information a few milliseconds later than hearing guys.


Bionic Poster
could be an advantage against someone like Sharapova
hey @ollinger can you comment on whether other senses develop to compensate for lack of hearing, and if so, in this case I assume smell, touch, and taste can be ruled out so that leaves only sharper visual processing as a possible compensation?