(CNN) — As a young kid, people used to make fun of Duckhee Lee, telling him that he shouldn’t be playing tennis.
On Monday the South Korean proved the doubters wrong by being the first player to win a game.
The 21-year-old, ranked 212 in the world, watched off Swiss world No. 120 Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 at the Winston-Salem Open at North Carolina.
“People made fun of me to my handicap. They told me I should not be playing,” Lee told me. “It was certainly difficult, but my friends and family helped me get through. I wished to show everyone that I was able to do so.
“My message for individuals that are hearing impaired is not to be discouraged. Should you try hard, you can do anything.”
‘Huge effort’
According to the ATP Tour website Lee — recognized as deaf aged two — can’t hear the rating being called that means he must rely onto his team on signals from the umpire or individuals or line calls.
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Taught to lipread as a young kid in Korean, the right-hander doesn’t know sign language.
To Lee’s fiancee, Soopin, who acted as a conduit between colleagues and Lee, a tournament volunteer interpreted English questions in Korean during the post-match media conference.
Grand slam champion Andy Murray praised Lee for his or her achievement.
“When I had been to play with headphones on, it is unbelievably tricky to find out the pace of the ball, so the twist that’s coming off the racquet. We utilize our ears a lot to pick things up,” the former world No.1 has been quoted as saying on the ATP Tour site.
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“It’s obviously a huge disadvantage, in order to be able to do what he’s doing is a enormous effort.”
Lee will next play Poland’s Hubert Hurkacs Tuesday in the second round and told reporters:”I’m going to visit the match with exactly the same attitude. I’m going to do my best and see what happens.”

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