“I play this sport because I enjoy the challenge, the problem solving, and the grind,” says professional tennis player Jason Jung. “Each tennis match brings uncertainty. But you prepare and put your effort in before and during [each] match to give yourself the best chance. Sometimes you come out on top and sometimes not.”
As a junior player, Jung ranked as high as No. 15 in USTA and No. 54 for Boys’ 18-and-under singles. He was the California Interscholastic Federation state singles champion as a junior, and named a blue chip recruit during his senior year of high school.
Jung played college tennis at the University of Michigan, where he majored in political science. As a Wolverine, his tennis accolades were many: Jung was the National and Midwest Regional winner of the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership & Sportsmanship in 2010, he made the All Big Ten team as a junior and senior, and was a 2010 Big Ten Conference Outstanding Conference Sportsmanship Award winner, chosen as the candidate to represent all the men’s varsity teams at Michigan. Several of Jung’s accomplishments remain on the Michigan All-Time Lists: a tie for seventh for most doubles wins in a single season (24, 2010), third place for most doubles wins by a freshman (22, 2008) and fourth place in career doubles wins (88, 2008-2011).
Despite his early successes and a solid collegiate career, Jung says professional tennis wasn’t a given: “I wasn’t really on the radar anymore. During college, I didn’t produce the results that were expected of my recruiting class or ranking and I think most people know the story that I didn’t play tennis when I graduated.”
Jung took a job upon graduation but it wasn’t long before a friend encouraged him to enter a tournament “just for fun.” Jung convincingly won that tournament, and decided to make the commitment to playing tennis professionally. To do so, he needed to improve his ranking and shore up both mental and financial support.
On the Futures circuit, he struggled to “keep his mindset right” and his play suffered when budgetary concerns followed him on to the court: “[I’m not the type of guy that can] travel with 500 dollars in their bank account [needing to make it to] the next quarterfinals to pay for that next flight.”
In 2015, Jung arrived at a solution that continues to provide him with the resources that are required to compete at the highest level in his sport: he now plays professional tennis as a representative of Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) and believes he would not be enjoying the same level of success (in terms of rankings) had he remained an American player.
Listen to Jung talk about that crucial decision and more, in his own words, during the May 31, 2021 episode “Behind the Racquet with Jason Jung” and read his story on Behind The Racquet. He also maintains a personal WordPress blog.
Behind The Racquet is a community of today’s top tennis players and fans that, by taking on the biggest issues facing the sport, imparts players with an opportunity to open up like never before, and provides fans with intimate access to the athletes they admire and insight into the sport they adore. Visit BehindTheRacquet.com for the latest stories, merch, as well as direct links to all of the latest podcasts. Behind The Racquet Pod can also be found on iTunes, Google Play, Pandora, Stitcher and wherever you find your podcasts. Fans can join the Behind The Racquet community at Patreon.com/behindtheracquetpod and on Twitter (@BehindTRacquet), Instagram (@BehindTheRacquet), and Facebook.