Tue, Oct 15, 2019

Duckhee Lee made some history this week, becoming the first deaf tennis player to compete in a top-level tournament on the ATP Tour. Oh, and he won. 

Lee defeated Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open on Monday. He’ll face off against No. 3 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland in the second round.

The 21-year-old South Korean was born deaf, but it hasn’t prevented him from finding success in the sport. As he reached new heights on Monday, Lee provided a little advice for others looking to rise above a disability.

“Don’t be discouraged, and if you try hard, you can do anything, you can achieve anything you want,” he said through an interpreter after his win.

Lee also said he does he want his own impairment to define him, though it will certainly be a big part of his story as he finds success at the highest level.

Lee’s career doesn’t necessarily have to be defined by his lack of hearing, but what he’s done to overcome what might be seen as a disadvantage by many is something that’s worth admiring, and it’s something that could serve as inspiration to plenty of others who find themselves in a similar position. 

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