The professional tennis world has traditionally been filled by the Europeans and Americans. We thus write this article in celebration of the diversity that is increasingly becoming evident as the days go by.
With 5 career titles to his name and having attained a career high of world number 9, this player from Thailand deserves to be on this list. In fact, he was perhaps the first Asian player to have broke into the ATP top 10, if one excludes Michael Chang... Notable opponents who suffered losses at his hands include former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, James Blake and Rafael Nadal. In fact, he is known to be the first person to have beaten Nadal in a grand slam. It was indeed refreshing seeing a rare Asian face on the mens' tour back then, especially the performance of his wai.
Although not that exceptional of a performer (he reached a career-high ranking of 33 in 2010, and from a one-off fortune), Lu Yen-hsun brought some Asian pride on two counts. With 29 Challenger titles to his name is the winner of the most number of such championships in tennis history. He also very famously upset Andy Roddick (the runner-up in the previous year) in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2010, in a moment which must have shook the island of Taiwan to a level no earthquake ever could.
Kei Nishikori has been the greatest Asian man (born in an Asian country and holding the citizenship of an Asian country) in the game so far. Such is obviously so, when the man has at the time of writing this 11 career titles to his name, a career highest ranking of world number 4, and achieved a career grand slam best performance of runner-up (at the 2014 US Open championships). He is also the only Asian so far to have beaten Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Wawrinka and Murray on at least one occasion.
When we speak about the greatest Asian hope however, it is this nextgen player from South Korea. Nishikori is already nearing the conventional twilight of a tennis player's career, whereas Chung is only about 20. Yet his achievements already include reaching the semi-final of a grand slam and beating Djokovic. Nishikori was still losing in the first and second rounds of the grand slams at this stage!
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