Tennis player Kwon Soon Woo stirred controversy with his unsportsmanlike conduct after a match
On September 25th, Kwon Soon Woo faced off against Samrej Kasidit (ranked 636th, Thailand) in the second round of men’s singles at the ‘2022 Hangzhou Asian Games’ held at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center in China. He lost with a set score of 1-2 (3-6, 7-5, 4-6).
Ranked 112th in the world, Kwon Soon Woo lost to Samrej, who was ranked 500 places lower. In frustration, he threw his racket. He continued to express his anger by throwing chairs or hitting the court with his broken racket. Kwon Soon Woo also received criticism for refusing to shake hands with Samrej after the match, even when Samrej extended the gesture.
Kwon Soon Woo’s unsportsmanlike behavior was deemed inappropriate for a national player, causing a backlash. Chinese netizens strongly criticized him with comments such as, “That’s why he lost. Such a player who doesn’t respect tennis should be banned from competing for life” and “There’s no sportsmanship in his behavior.”
Korean netizens also frowned upon Kwon Soon Woo’s actions. Moreover, his controversy even affected former Wonder Girls’ member Yubin, Kwon Soon Woo’s girlfriend since May, as some netizens went to her Instagram to post hateful comments.
Ultimately, on September 26th, Kwon Soon Woo publicly released a lengthy handwritten apology letter. In the letter posted on his personal account and through the Korea Sports Council, he expressed his regret for his reckless behavior as a national representative athlete.
He said, “I sincerely apologize to all the Korean nationals who support the national representative team and the spectators who were at the stadium. I am sorry.” He also apologized to Samrej, the opponent he had treated rudely, “I sincerely apologize once again to Samrej, the player who must have been uncomfortable with my rude behavior.”