South Korean No. 1 Soonwoo Kwon Likely To Leave Tennis Due To Military Service

South Korean No. 1 Soonwoo Kwon Likely To Leave Tennis Due To Military Service

by Evita Mueller

South Korean No. 1 Soonwoo Kwon is likely to postpone his tennis career in favour of serving mandatory military service back home in the future.

All South Korean men must serve military service due to the country's specific history, which technically still has them 'at war' with their Northern neighbours. Military service usually lasts 18 months but can extend to 21 months if the person in question serves as a public service worker.

There are exemptions, for example, if you're a distinguished athlete who wins a medal for the country. Notable examples include Heung Min Son, who only served for three weeks to continue his exceptional football career.

That won't be the case for Soonwoo Kwon, who last competed at the Asian Games and shocked the tennis world with very unsportsmanlike conduct. He refused to shake his opponent's hands after losing but apologized not long after that, and we kind of know now why he reacted that emotionally.

He's most likely going to the military, and he will serve at least 18 months there, which will pause his tennis career at a very inconvenient moment. It's unclear when Kwon will go as he technically still doesn't have to go, but eventually, he'll have to.

He missed much of this year due to injury and hasn't played that well since returning. He's only 25, so if he goes now, there will be plenty of time to focus on tennis once he comes back, but on the other hand, it's not the ideal timing, considering that he's just entering his best playing years.

The exemption was in play for him if he secured a medal for his country, but he failed, and even with the upcoming Olympics, it's rather unlikely that he'll manage to do that. This was his best chance, and losing to a player not even ranked in the Top 500 was not ideal.


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