Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and now Coleman Wong, Hong Kong tennis prodigy wins under-14 title at Junior Orange Bowl
- The 14-year-old becomes the first Hong Kong player to win a title at one of the world’s most prestigious junior tournaments
- DBS student takes a step closer to his dream of becoming a professional and competing at a grand slam
What does Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin del Potro, and Hong Kong’s Coleman Wong Chak-lam have in common other than they play tennis? They have all started out winning titles at the prestigious Junior Orange Bowl.
Wong has found himself in esteem company after becoming the first Hong Kong player to win a title at the Florida tournament, clinching the boys’ under-14 division at the University of Miami Schiff Tennis Centre on Tuesday. The Orange Bowl is considered the creme de la creme of junior tournaments and players like Federer, Thiem and Del Potro have won an Orange Bowl title when they were juniors. Now Wong proved he was definitely going places after his landmark victory.
The Diocesan Boys’ School student displayed his massive potential as he took another step closer to his dream of playing in a grand slam. The tennis prodigy also proved that his performance at last year’s Longines Future Aces tournament, where he reached the final, in Paris in June 2017, was no fluke.
Wong defeated top seed and 2016 Junior Orange Bowl under-12 champion Victor Lilov, of the United States, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 for his historic victory that will put him in good stead of one day turning professional. He aspires to even break into the world’s top 100 in the future.
“It’s unbelievable,” the 14-year-old told zootennis.com after his Orange Bowl victory. “I never thought I could win this tournament. It’s a 128 draw, it’s really tough, every opponent is really good.”
Wong almost didn’t make it to the final after he found himself a match point down against unseeded American Sebastian Gornzy in the quarter-finals. Wong displayed fighting qualities to eventually win the next three points for a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) victory.
Lilov complimented Wong’s “huge” forehand, saying Wong gave him little opportunity to attack.
“He was absolutely crushing the ball, hitting every ball really hard,” said Lilov. “Today was his day, I was too defensive to win, but that’s just what happened.”
Wong’s nerves were jangling in the second set when he raced to a 4-1 lead before Lilov came back into the match at 5-3.
“I was so nervous,” said Wong, who started playing tennis at the age of five and trains at the Hong Kong Sports Institute. “I just don’t know what to do there. I just want to serve in.”
Wong eventually closed out the set and was relieved when his opponent netted a backhand return.
“I was so happy,” said Wong. “I never thought I could win this, but at last, I won. I can’t use words to describe the feeling.”
Wong is scheduled to compete in a Futures tournament next week in Hong Kong, before returning to ITF Junior Circuit events.