Legendary Spanish coach Luis Bruguera came to the 852 with one objective – to mould the city’s first tennis superstars.
“I came to Hong Kong because I wanted a new challenge,” said Bruguera, who has coached the 2017 Wimbledon female singles champion Garbrine Muguruza. “For so many years, China has only had one or no players ranked in the top 100. Now, I want to get a Hong Kong player into the top 100.”
He founded the Bruguera Tennis Academy 30 years ago, and now Hong Kong has its own branch at the Hong Kong Golf and Tennis Academy (HKGTA). The academy has many advanced training facilities, including state-of-the-art indoor courts.
“I want to bring the training methods from Spain, which produced so many champions, over to Hong Kong,” said Bruguera, whose son Sergi Bruguera won the French Open titles in 1993 and 1994. “Hong Kong has many talented players, they just need to train the right way, and from a young age.”
One potential star is 17-year-old Sunny Yue Ching-ho, a member of the HKGTA senior team who said his game has improved dramatically since joining the academy four months ago.
“The training methods here are so advanced, much better than those at my school,” said Sunny, a Diocesan Boys’ School (DBS) student. “In school, after the inter-school competitions end, we don’t train too much. Here, I get to play in a lot more competitions over the summer.”
Sunny plans to play university tennis before turning professional, and he’s confident the extra support he’s receiving will help get him there.
Bruguera said when it comes to producing top players, the mental aspect is more important than anything, a message he hopes his students will remember.
“It’s not enough to be ‘good’ at tennis,” Bruguera told Young Post. “Sunny is already good at tennis, but so are his opponents..."
“To be the best at tennis, you must be mentally strong, play well under pressure and in the right moments. That’s how you become a champion.”
The future of Hong Kong tennis already appears to be in good hands, with 21-year-old DBS alumni Kevin Wong Chun-hun and Brian Yeung Pak-long securing the city’s first ever tennis medal at the World University Games in Taiwan last month, taking bronze in the men’s doubles.
“We were so close to winning the gold,” said Wong. “It came down to just one or two points and it could have been a different result.”
“Once we got to the semi-finals, we didn’t want to stop,” explained Yeung. “We had to go for the gold at that point.”
If players like Sunny continue to evolve, hopefully those gold medal dreams will soon become a reality for Hong Kong.