As this year’s senior students begin to prepare themselves for the next step in their respective lives, the student body bids a special farewell to one senior athlete in particular, who is known for his exceptional tennis skills. Justin Cheun (12), a student graduating from SIS in a matter of months, has been playing tennis since he was 10. As an athlete who began playing the sport in the footsteps of his brother, he loves the fast-paced sport as it does not have a time limit; it is up to you to win the match, not the clock.
“I can not imagine my life without tennis,” Justin said. “In one week, I probably spend at least a few hours playing the sport, regardless of how busy I am with assignments and tests. In fact, to me, tennis is as difficult and taxing as academic work; it requires extreme focus and concentration because one brain fart during a serve can lead to a miss, which might result in the player losing the entire match. Although stressful at times, practicing tennis outside of school with my coach has really taught me to persevere and always set high expectations for myself.”
Throughout high school, Justin has been to a number of countries across the planet to compete on an international level, including the US, where he placed first at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournament in California. According to Justin, these trips are his most memorable moments of high school. However, as classes continued to become more difficult each year, participating in these time-consuming and arduous events was admittedly a burden to him. Nevertheless, Justin does not regret making such a commitment for the past four years and will continue playing the sport in college.
“Tennis a tough sport—no doubt about that,” said Ryan Hyun (10), a student on the SIS tennis team. “When competing at a KAIAC tournament, I sometimes feel like the best high school athlete to have ever played the sport. However, when I observe upperclassmen like Justin play the sport outside of school, I wonder just how much time it took him to develop his tennis skills to that level. Thanks to him, I know that if I ever want to place first at an international tournament, I need to step up my game a lot.”
With only a few months left of high school, Justin finds himself preparing for another four-year adventure in the US: college. Yet, what makes him unique is the fact that he is not planning to major in an academic field of study; his ardent passion for tennis has led him to make the decision to pursue recruitment by college tennis teams. In other words, he will be playing tennis professionally at the college level. Some of his goals include playing first singles for his future team and winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship. Although difficult to achieve, he has faith that such goals will be within reach in no time at all.
“To many, this dream of mine probably seems impossible to achieve, and years ago, my naive self would have probably thought the same thing,” Justin said. “Still, I thought winning international tournaments was impossible back then too, and it looks like such a goal was achievable after all. Over the years, I have learned to always overestimate myself because doubts set one’s limits.”