Hyeon Chung’s coach Neville Godwin says the surprise Australian Open semi-finalist shouldn’t feel afraid ahead of his clash against 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer tonight.
The 21-year-old South Korean and world number 58 has stunned the tennis world over the past fortnight, taking down fellow young gun and world number four Alexander Zverev and six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic on the path to his first ever Grand Slam semi-final, becoming his country’s first every player to enter the final four of a Grand Slam.
Godwin, who coached South African Kevin Anderson to the US Open final last year before becoming Chung’s coach, told a press conference that his charge must enjoy the moment on Rod Laver Arena tonight.
“You’ve got to tell them to go out and enjoy themselves. It’s a big moment, it’s an enjoyable moment,” he said.
Godwin has faith Chung, who had not progressed past the third round of any Grand Slam before this Australian Open, can handle the hopes of an entire nation on his shoulders, with his heroics dominating the front pages of newspapers in South Korea.
“He just loves the environment. It’s pretty exciting for him,” Godwin told the media on Thursday.
“He’s a youngster and I think is really great how it is allowing his character and personality to come out. He has a fantastic sense of humour and he is becoming more confident in his English.
“He’s endearing himself, he’s smiling a lot and he’s just a great character and a super nice kid and he is loving every second.”
Godwin says that they will approach the match against Federer the same as they have done over the past few weeks.
“Really focus on your own stuff,” the South African coach said.
“If you try and focus on what Roger is going to do, that is not going to be very fun. He has got so much skill, so much talent and he has been in this situation so many times that you just keep it really simple and focused on what you can do and control what you can do.”