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Beating the Odds – Lee Duck Hee

Posted on September 3, 2019 by All In

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Recently, there has been some big news on the South Korean tennis player, Lee Duck Hee. Lee started playing tennis at the age of 7. At age 14, he made his debut on the International Tennis Federation Futures Tour. He was very accomplished in his teens, winning eight titles before the age of 18 and reaching 3 finals in the ATP Challenger Tour.

So what was so amazing about Lee that landed him on the news?

Winning the ATP match

Lee actually won his first ATP match at the Winston-Salem Open. Some of you may be wondering, “So what is the big deal of him winning this match? It’s not like he won the whole competition.”  Well, this was an amazing feat because he won the match against Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.

Lee’s journey

Lee was born deaf. He is the first deaf player on the men’s tour. Playing at the highest level has not been easy for Lee. The ability to hear is important in tennis. It is so important that before tennis players serve, the spectators go absolutely silent. This is so that players can hear the ball bounce off their opponent’s racket and identify the spin in a split second.

Despite this, Lee did not let his disability stop him. He uses his sight instead to watch how his opponents make contact and to judge the speed and spin of the ball coming towards him. He reads lips instead of using sign language, relying on hand gestures from the umpires making the call.

Inspiring others to chase their dreams

Lee was told by many that he would never make it in the professional world of tennis because of his disability. They made fun of him for wanting to pursue his dream but he proved them all wrong. This win from Lee goes far beyond his personal achievement. It has made a huge impact on hearing-impaired athletes, inspiring them to chase their dreams with confidence.


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