PARIS (Reuters) - Korean Chung Hyeon was supremely sanguine about his 7-5 6-4 6-7(4) 0-6 6-4 defeat to Kei Nishikori in the French Open third round on Sunday, and said the folks back home would not be too disappointed.
“In Korea everyone likes Kei because he is number one in Asia,” the 21-year-old smiled.
In any case, it was to some extent ‘mission accomplished’ for the South Korean.
“In my country tennis is not popular yet. So I want to make it more popular in Korea, I hope.”
While reporters probed Chung for remnants of disappointment, the player remained resolutely upbeat.
”Today was a tough match against Kei. It was really fast and good strokes. But I tried my best and maybe I‘m waiting for another day.
”I hadn’t played Kei before, never practised. So it was a great experience for me, and a great honour to play against Kei.
”Maybe I want to be better next time. Yeah, it’s (been a) great experience in Paris. I make third round first time in a grand slam. And maybe I have more experience and I have to enjoy.
“I‘m looking forward to another grand slam.”
Chung does not have long to wait with Wimbledon only a handful of weeks away.
A couple of good performances on south-west London’s lush lawns would go some way towards helping the world number 67 achieve his immediate goals.
“I want to break my highest ranking. So maybe I want to make top 50 first, and then maybe if I make top 50...”
Editing by Clare Fallon