Huge on-court tantrum by South Korean tennis star leads to government criticism

Kwon Soon-woo smashed his racket and refused to shake his opponent’s hand after a surprise loss at the Asian Games

Hyunsu Yim
Wednesday 27 September 2023 10:27 BST
<p>Kwon Soon-wo reacted angrily after a shock second round defeat </p>

Kwon Soon-wo reacted angrily after a shock second round defeat

South Korea’s sports authorities said they will take measures to address the “unsportsmanlike” conduct of tennis player Kwon Soon-woo at the Asian Games after he smashed his racket and refused to shake hands with his opponent on Monday.

Video of Kwon’s meltdown after losing 6-3 5-7 6-4 to Thailand’s Kasidit Samrej went viral on social media, racking up over one million views on China’s Weibo platform and drawing the ire of netizens at home in South Korea.

The incident came in the second round of the men’s singles competition at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center in eastern China, where 112th-ranked Kwon had been expected to beat the 634th-ranked Thai.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) said Kwon’s actions were “extremely regretful”.

“We will take appropriate measures for the situation through a comprehensive review after the Games come to an end,” KSOC said.

Kwon also drew criticism from South Korea’s vice minister of culture, sports and tourism, who called the player’s reaction to the defeat “regretful.”

Kwon apologised to Samrej, and to his South Korean fans, in a handwritten note posted on social media.

“I behaved recklessly soon after a match ended and I shouldn’t have as a national team player,” he said.

The 2022 Asian Games are being held this year due to the Covid pandemic.

The tennis at the event will conclude on Saturday 30 September – China’s Zhang Zhizhen is the top male seed on home soil.

Samrej exited the men’s singles in his next match, losing his round of 16 encounter with Uzbekistan’s Khumoyun Sultanov


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