Korean, Joo Se Hyuk, is world number nine at present. He holds the seventh position in Asia and is number 1 in his own country. His record had been a little erratic in the last 4 years but he had been more consistent in the last 10 months.
His style of play is quite defensive. Joo Se-Hyuk is one of the few defensive players, ranking in the International Top 10. In fact, he had made other players have a serious thinking about out-and-out offensive playing with his special defensive style.
Joo Se Hyuk
His defensive chops help him return balls from long distances with lot of spin on the ball. However, at times he also employs powerful forehand topspin loops and forehand drives as a sudden counterattack measure. Many consider Joo Se Hyuk as the world’s best defensive style player. He is very aggressive in his forehand with top spin loop shots and cut strokes in his backhand. Butterfly has developed this blade for him.
Joo is now using the Butterfly racket bearing his name, the Joo Se Hyuk blade. He uses the classic grip, the favorite of defensive players. His Butterfly racket is having 1.9 mm thickness red Tackfire Drive brand rubber on the forehand side and 1.5 mm thickness black long-pip Curl P1-R rubber on the backhand side.
In June 2006, Joo Se Hyuk reached a Men’s Singles final where he clashed against Damien Eloi of France in the Korean Open on the ITTF Pro Tour. They were meeting for the first time and people were keen to watch Joo Se Hyuk’s defensive skills against the fast attacking style of the Frenchman. As expected, Eloi started attacking the backhand of Joo with sharp topspin strokes. He built a lead of 8-2 and then took the game at 11-3. In the second game, Eloi again rushed to a lead of 5-2 but Joo fought back to 4-6. Then Elio again jumped to 10-7 but Joo came up with terrific defense shots and outstanding forehand topspins to take the game at 12-10.
The third game saw them level at 5-all but the Korean played a very strong attacking game and won 11-5. In the fourth game, the Frenchman forged ahead to 4-1 but Joo retorted again with powerful forehand attacks to win the game 11-5. The fifth game saw a tight battle with the players leveling at 3-all. Later, from 7-6, Hyuk moved ahead to 10-6 and finally took the game at 11-7. Joo Se Hyuk was the only second defensive player to have triumphed in a Men’s Singles Championship on the ITTF Pro Tour. Earlier, Ding Song of China won in 1996 in Japan and in 1997 in Australia.
Earlier in his career, Joo Se Hyuk reached the finals of the 2003 Men’s World Championship only to be overwhelmed by the Austrian Werner Schlager in a keenly fought 6-game match. Schlager won 11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10, 8-11, and 12-10. Even though Joo played a solid defensive game, the Austrian never allowed Joo to settle into a rhythm with sharp drives to the Korean’s backhand. Schlager also prevented Joo from launching his awesome forehand topspins by making strong service returns to Joo. However, the scoreline would reveal how tough the match was and what a fighter Joo Se Hyuk turned out to be.
Joo Se Hyuk was the only one to prevent an all-Chinese semi-final line up in the Harmony China Open in Men’s Singles event in Suzhou, by ousting Zhang Jike at the quarter-final stage in June 2009. It was the first time that the two had met in a world ranking event.