Soonwoo Kwon pumps his fist. He will lead Team Korea at the upcoming Davis Cup tie with Canada.

Photo : Sarah-Jade Champagne

The Republic of Korea will look to spoil Team Canada presented by Sobeys’ homecoming this week in the Davis Cup qualifying round when they take on the 2022 champions in Montreal. 

While Canada will be the favourites on paper, with all five of their players boasting superior singles rankings to the No. 2 Korean, the Republic of Korea has been a consistently solid team in recent years, having reached the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals in both 2022 and 2023. 

In the former, they even pushed the eventual-champion Canadians to the brink. 

Let’s meet the visitors for this week’s Davis Cup clash in Montreal. 

Soonwoo Kwon 

Despite not being their highest-ranked player, Kwon is the biggest name on the Korean squad. He is the only member of the team to have won an ATP title, with a pair of ATP 250 singles titles to his name. The most recent came at the beginning of 2023 in Adelaide. 

Having reached a career-high ranking of No. 52 in 2021 and being a mainstay in the Top 100, he recently tumbled down to No. 700 after failing to defend those points from Adelaide.  

Kwon has been a thorn in the side of the Canadians at Davis Cup in the past, having upset Félix Auger-Aliassime in the 2022 group stage, although Canada did go on to win that tie. 

Seongchan Hong 

Hong is the top-ranked Korean singles player in this tie at No. 224. On the lower circuits, he has won 15 professional titles, including his first ATP Challenger title in November 2022. The 26-year-old does not have a lot of experience at the top of the men’s game, having only played two main-draw matches on ATP Tour, both defeats on home soil in Seoul.  

However, Hong has proven to be a formidable opponent in Davis Cup competition in the past, giving Vasek Pospisil all he could handle in the 2022 group stage, although the Canadian did prevail in an epic three-setter. He also scored the decisive point for his nation in their 2023 qualifying tie with Belgium to send Korea to the Finals group stage. 

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Jeamoon Lee 

A late addition to the team, Lee will be representing his country at the Davis Cup for the first time since 2018. He is 0-4 in his career in Davis Cup matches.  

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Despite being ranked just outside the Top 500 in both singles and doubles (508 in singles, 504 in doubles), Lee had a strong 2023 on the ITF circuit, reaching four singles finals and two doubles finals, winning one singles title at an M15 event in Thailand. 

JiSung Nam 

Nam holds the highest ranking of any player on the Korean team, coming in at No. 140 in the ATP doubles rankings. He is also the most experienced member of the team, having previously participated in 15 Davis Cup ties.  

Primarily a doubles specialist for the national team, Nam has gone 2-2 each of the last two years as the Republic of Korea has made it to the group stage. He has 34 professional doubles titles to his name on the lower circuits, including three on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2023. 

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Two of those titles were won alongside his countryman and frequent partner, including at Davis Cup, Minkyu Song. 

Minkyu Song 

At 33, Song is the oldest member of the Korean team and made his debut in 2015. Playing alongside Nam, Song reached the doubles quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event in Seoul last year. 

He and Nam have been the mainstays in the doubles role for Korea since the pair joined the team. They have a 4-9 record together overall in Davis Cup competition and have won 18 titles together on the ATP Challenger and ITF Tours. 

Last We Meet 

Canada and the Republic of Korea have only met once before in Davis Cup competition. It was very recent and a critical matchup, coming in the 2022 Group Stage in Valencia. 

Every single member of the Korean team is back from that matchup, while only three members of the Canadian team were present at that tie, with Vasek Pospisil being the lone Canadian who played in 2022 that is back in 2024. 

It was the first match of the group stage for both teams and Canada, led by Félix Auger-Aliassime, were the favourites. But the Koreans gave them all they could handle. 

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First, Pospisil needed a third-set tiebreak to put away Hong. Then Kwon stunned Auger-Aliassime to send the match to a deciding doubles match. In an agonizingly close contest, Auger-Aliassime and Pospisil held off Nam and Song to escape with the win. 

Had the Koreans completed the upset, Canada’s 2022 title hopes likely would have ended in Valencia, rather than the team lifting the trophy two months later in Malaga. 

Tickets are still available for the tie in Montreal. Get your tickets now!