Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jason Jung discusses his journey from USA to TPE

It was just a few weeks ago, I was looking at the ATP profile of one of my favorite tennis players, Jason Jung - a player having a career year, a player who had recently made his Top 200 debut, a player who worked hard to maximize his talent, a player about whom I wrote one of my first narrative blog posts. And I saw this:

Soon thereafter, the Taiwanese flag also appeared next to his name on the ATP rankings, and (TPE) accompanied him on the draws and it was official: Jung had transferred his affiliation from the United States to Taiwan.

As a fan of American tennis, I was (and am) saddened, although I remain a big fan of his. As far as I could ever determine, Jung was a great ambassador for this country on and off the court. So I vowed to learn why. I kept checking his excellent blog, but he didn't write about it. So when he popped up at the Winnetka Challenger last week, I decided to go ahead and ask him about it, and several other topics including his initial foray into Grand Slam qualifying and, like I did in the interview with his University of Michigan co-alum and erstwhile doubles partner Evan King, his reaction to last year's Grantland article that brought him to the attention of so many of us.

I hope you enjoy it!



One question that went unasked was what, if anything, the USTA could or should have done differently to keep Jung in the fold. So I'll open that up to you: given the large numbers of players who are first- or second-generation Americans, does our national association need to up its retention game? It's easy for a lower-tier player like Jung to fall through the cracks (same can be said for Alexa Guarachi, who around the same time began representing Chile).

Perhaps nothing the USTA could have done would have changed Jung's journey - after all, there are only so many Davis Cup spots to go around and it's unlikely that the 26-year-old would have vaulted ahead of the several more accomplished players ahead of him in the queue. But I am curious to hear if others feel it's even worth an effort.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the interview! I was curious myself

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