Tennis tantrum tamed: South Korean player apologises for unsportsmanship behaviour

Photo via Facebook/ สมาคมกีฬาลอนเทนนิสแห่งประเทศไทย ในพระบรมราชูปถัมภ์ - LTAT

Petulant South Korean tennis player Kwon Soon-woo apologised to Thai tennis opponent Kasidit “Boom” Samrej and Thai sports fans for his unsportsmanlike, aggressive behaviour during their encounter at the 19th Asian Games in China.

Thai tennis player Boom recorded an impressive victory over South Korea’s Kwon in the men’s singles match on Monday, September 25, at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Hangzhou, China.

Kwon did not take his defeat very well and was very vocal about losing to a player ranked 500 places below him. The 25 year old repeatedly smashed his racket on the ground and against a chair until it was smashed to pieces.

Tensions escalated further as Boom approached Kwon for a handshake, but the Korean refused. The 22 year old Thai tennis player then turned his back on Kwon and bowed to spectators on the court.

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Kwon was criticised by both Thai and South Korean tennis fans. The South Korean media also blamed Kwon for destroying relations between the two countries and spoiling the good image of South Korea.

Feeling the weight of public opinion, Kwon took to his Instagram account, @soonwookwon, to issue an apology. He expressed his remorse in Korean.

“Immediately after the tournament ended, I did something reckless that I should not have done as a national athlete. I sincerely apologise to all the people who supported me and the crowd at the stadium. I am sorry.

“I also sincerely apologise to Samrej, the player who was offended by my rude behaviour. I have reflected on my actions after the competition and regret them. As a national athlete representing the country, I will be careful with my behaviour and be a responsible athlete. Once again, I sincerely apologise to all sports lovers.”

In a touching show of sportsmanship, Boom responded to Kwon’s apology in the comments section, offering encouragement with the emoji of a flexed arm and a handshake.

Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand’s (LTAT) official Facebook page also announced yesterday that Kwon and his coach had come to apologise in person to Boom and his Thai coach, and the two athletes shook hands.

The LTAT stressed that the issue would not affect the relationship between the two players and the two countries.


ORIGINAL STORY: Unseeded Thai triumphs, but sportsmanship takes a dive in Asian Games tennis showdown

A recent Asian Games tennis match delivered an enthralling contest between an unheralded Thai player and a highly-ranked South Korean opponent but ultimately concluded with a display of poor sportsmanship.

Thai tennis player, Boom Kasidit, emerged as the surprising victor, causing an upset given that Kwon Soon-woo is 112th in the world and was favourite for overall victory. The 25 year old’s response to his defeat, which involved violently smashing his racket onto the ground and refusing to extend a handshake to his 22 year old Thai counterpart, ignited a global debate.

Kwon is currently 112th in the world rankings, although at one point in his career, he achieved a remarkable high of 52nd and secured ten professional titles. This made him a top contender in this year’s Asian Games.

Speculation suggests that Kwon’s unsportsmanlike conduct might be attributed to his pending mandatory military service, which he can defer until the age of 28. Winning a gold medal in the Asian Games would have exempted him from this obligation.

Clearly underestimating his Thai opponent, Boom, who is globally ranked at 636th, Kwon faced a considerable gap in their rankings. Despite being the underdog, Boom put up a fierce fight, clinching the first set before narrowly losing the second.

In the third set, Boom held a commanding 5-0 lead but encountered difficulties in closing the game, allowing Kwon to mount a comeback by winning four consecutive games. Nevertheless, Boom managed to serve out the set and secure a 2-1 victory with set scores of 6-3, 5-7, and 6-4, after an intense battle lasting two hours and 42 minutes.

Apart from his sporting achievements, Kwon is also recognized for his romantic relationship with Yubin, a former member of the popular band Wonder Girls, who is nine years his senior. This relationship garnered significant attention in South Korea back in May. It is a shame he is in the news for being a bad loser and sportsman.

The Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, kicked off with a dazzling display that left spectators in awe. After a year-long delay, the host nation pulled out all the stops to showcase its rich culture and technological prowess. Read more about the story HERE.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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