Hearing the ball is considered crucial in competitive tennis. But 18-year-old South Korean player Lee Duck-hee manages very well, despite the fact that he can't hear anything, Ben Rothenberg reports in The New York Times. And he is playing at a level no other deaf player has reached.
Most top players will say that simply seeing the ball is not enough. To react as swiftly as possible, they need to pay attention to the sound of the ball as it leaves an opponent's racket.
But Lee has other methods. He pays close attention to an opponent's backswing, anticipating the ensuing shot. “He always seems to know where I am going to hit the ball,” a former opponent said last year. “I don’t think he is guessing; it is more like he is reading my mind.”
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