Last Updated on January 20, 2023
The highest-ranked South Korean tennis player at the moment and the guy with great potential to surpass the best ATP ranking of a Korean tennis player so far, is 25 years old Kwon Soon-Woo.
Kwon Soon-Woo was born on 2nd December 1997 in Sandju, South Korea. He is the youngest child of father Kwon Yeong-Hun and mother Jeong Eun-Mi and has two sisters. Originally, when he was young, he liked soccer, but one day, his father who liked tennis, introduced him to this sport.
“One day my father told me he is taking me to play soccer, so we rode together and I fall asleep in the car, and when I woke up, it was a tennis court. I remember crying so hard at that time.” said Kwon in an interview.
He started playing tennis at age of ten at Youngsang Elementary School in Andong. In Andong he also visited high school, but took a break from sports for seven months due to a knee injury during the first year of high school. At age of sixteen he moved to Seoul where he attended Mapo High school and played for their tennis team alongside with another future ATP tennis player Lee Duck-Hee. Then he entered Konkuk University where he studied physical education and kept playing tennis.
“It was difficult financially and mentally, but I think Soon-woo gained some strength from that.” said his father.
Since turning professional in 2015, Kwon has won two ATP, five ITF World Tennis Tour and three ATP Challenger tour singles titles. He reached a career-high ranking of World No.52 in 2021 and currently is also at that position. His favorite surface is hard and his favorite shots are down-the-line forehand and drop shot. He likes music especially ballads, enjoys Japanese food, and in addition to tennis he likes riding a bicycle.
Who is Kwon Soon-Woo’s coach?
Since 2020 Kwon’s coach is former tennis player Daniel Yoo.
Daniel was born on 25th September 1985 in Taejeon, South Korea. After graduating from high school in 1998 he went to the USA and received elite training at the world-renowned Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy.
He was left-handed tennis player and during his career he played domestic competitions and participated in the ITF international tournaments. He has a career high ATP ranking of World No.326 reached in June 2011. From 2012 he served the Korean Sports military for two years as captain over eight Korean professional tennis players.
After discharge upon completing military service in 2014, he made contract with Dangjing City Team and competed for five years in Korea. During his career he trained jointly with Roger Federer in Dubai, as his left-handed partner. While looking for a training partner with good strokes and left-handed like Nadal, Federer asked the Bollettieri Academy to hire a player and was eventually connected with Daniel. After retiring, he gained GPTCA A-level coach license and coached at TW Tennis in Coral Springs, Florida.
Since the beginning of the collaboration with Kwon, the young player made significant results. He won 2021 Biella Open Challenger, reached his first semifinal of ATP 250 in Eastbourne and later in the year he won his first ATP title at Astana Open. He had 2023 season start of his dreams, by wining his second ATP title at Adelaide International.
“Even if I lose a game, he smiles and speaks nicely, Because of that encouragement, I was able to participate in the game more comfortably and enjoy it. As a result, I think my performance improved” Kwon said about his coach.
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Former Kwon’s coaches
Before Daniel, Kwon was coached by another former tennis player Lim Gyu-Tae.
Lim used to be the ace of the national tennis team. In 2007, along with senior Lee Hyeong-taek, he was the main player in putting the Korean tennis team into the Davis Cup World Group for the first time in 20 years.
He is known as the best coaching expert in Korea, focusing on learning the training methods of top rankers overseas since his active career. With his extensive knowledge, he is conducting commentary for Korean Broadcasting System on ATP Tour.
The first thing Lim did when he took over Kwon, was to observe him quietly.
“I didn’t try to change anything, if I suddenly try to change, it could create a wall in my mind, so I didn’t coach for 2-3 months. After that, I tried to change things little by little as I got good results.” said Lim
Under his mentorship, Kwon managed to win two Challenger titles at Yokohama Open and Seoul Open. At the end of season 2019 they split up without any misunderstanding.
For a period of a year and a half, Kwon’s coach was Yoon Yong-IL.
Yoon is a former tennis player but didn’t have any notable results. After retiring in 2005 he immediately became a tour coach.
He is most experienced tennis coach in Korea and was mentoring several Korean players like Jeong Hyun, Jeon Woong-Seon, Kim Seon-Yong and Lee Hyung-Taek who managed to reach World No.36 at ATP ranking. Before starting his collaboration with Kwon, he took a break for six months, spent quality time with his family and pursued his hobbies.
“Kwon has a very fast stroke, he has a sense, an ability and mentality that other Korean players do not have.” said Yoon at the beginning of working with Kwon.
Since there was no significant result by winning any tournament, their partnership ended at the end of season 2018.
Kwon Soon-Woo’s achievements with different coaches
We have collected in the table the data about the trophies won by Kwon Soon-Woo under the guidance of various coaches.
|Coaches||Years of Completion||Titles|
|Daniel Yoo||2020 – ongoing||2021 Biella Open Challenger, 2021 Astana Open, 2023 Adelaide International|
|Lim Gyu-Tae||2019 – 2020||2019 Yokohama Challenger2019 Seoul Challenger|
|Yoon Yong-IL||2017 – 2018||none|