Caught in the Net: Lee Duck-hee, 15, makes light of his deafness


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The Independent Online

He may have lost in the first round of the boys' singles, but there has surely not been a more remarkable competitor at the French Open than Lee Duck-hee.

The 15-year-old from South Korea, who is the Asian junior champion and claimed his first senior title last month in Budapest, has been deaf since birth. The disadvantages are many. Hearing the sound of the ball coming off your opponent's racket can tell you much about its trajectory and the shot you will have to play next. Lee cannot hear the umpire or line judges and is often unsure if a ball has been called out. Already No 41 in the junior rankings, he is aiming for the top 10 this year.

He makes light of his deafness. "Actually I don't care about my disability at any time, and on the court it's easy to focus on my match because I can't hear anything," he said.

No dog and bone for Maria

As the world's highest-earning sportswoman, Maria Sharapova does not need to count the pennies. But she often uses Skype. "I have Skyped with my dog and my dad," she said. "The only time I want to Skype with my dad is when I want to see my dog. Sorry, dad. Actually, he wants to Skype with me because he says it's cheaper."

Shelby Rogers, a promising young American, was asked in Paris about the large number of cats she keeps at home. "You're talking about my Wikipedia page?" she said. "That's not true, but I like it. One of my friends filled it out. I'm a little bit of a jokester myself, so I support it. It's good stuff."

The cats have now gone, but Wikipedia refers to the "multiple injuries" she suffered in a car accident three years ago "including the amputation of her great and second toe on the right foot". Hmmm.

Inglot learns his baselines

Dominic Inglot, the last Briton left in senior competition at Roland Garros, knows what it's like to be the focus of attention. He was the tennis-playing stand-in for the actor Paul Bettany in the 2004 movie Wimbledon.