Rising tennis star suffers setbacks

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 April, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 April, 1996, 12:00am

Hong Kong's rising tennis star John Hui Kin-yip experienced the harsh realities of a professional player for a day at the recent Salem Open.

Granted a wild card in the tournament, Hui simply had no answer to Australia's Patrick Rafter who handed Hong Kong's number one a 6-0, 6-1 lesson in their first round match at Victoria Park.

Hui is turning into a pro after a highly successful junior career, but he discovered how tough it can be on the pro circuit with Rafter showing the huge gulf between himself and young Hui.

It has not been a good week for the territory's brightest hope who lost both his singles in the Asia-Oceania zone Davis Cup tie against Thailand.

Hui struggled in the heat and humidity in Bangkok and lost both his singles as Hong Kong crashed to a 5-0 defeat to Thailand. He was also unlucky to have been drawn against Rafter, the 1994 Salem Open finalist.

The 18-year-old Hui's only consolation in defeat against Rafter was experience - against a player who was last year ranked among the world's top 20 - and a precious Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) computer point.

'It's hard to have a game plan against a player like Rafter,' said Hui after his defeat.

'My coach and I decided that I should just go out there and have fun, and I did.

'Sure it was tough but this experience won't change my mind of going full-time on the circuit,' he added.

Hui has been playing tennis for 12 years and has just started venturing on to the satellite circuit.

Rafter, who had been plagued by wrist and ankle injuries since this year's Australian Open and whose ranking has slipped to 89th in the world, had a few kind words for Hui.

He said: 'John has never played anyone highly ranked and no one exploited his game like I did.

'There were some weaknesses but he should learn from that.

'If he puts in the hard work, he can be a good player.'