(CNN) — As a child, people used to make fun of Duckhee Lee, telling him that he should not be playing golf.
On Monday the West proved the doubters wrong by being the first deaf player to win a game.
The 21-year-old, ranked 212 in the world, saw off world No. 120 Henri Laaksonen 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 at the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina.
“People made fun of me for my handicap. They told me that I shouldn’t be playing,” Lee told reporters. “It was certainly hard, but my family and friends helped me get through. I wished to show everyone that I could do so.
“My message for people who are hearing impaired is not to be discouraged. If you try hard, you can do anything.”
According to the ATP Tour site Lee — diagnosed as aged two — can’t hear the score being called which means he must rely on signals from individuals or the umpire on his team or line calls.
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Taught to lipread in Korean as a youngster, the right-hander doesn’t know sign language.
To Lee’s fiancee, Soopin, who acted as a conduit between Lee and reporters, a tournament volunteer translated questions in Korean during the post-match media conference.
Slam champion Andy Murray praised Lee for his accomplishment.
“If I was to play with headphones , it is unbelievably difficult to pick up the pace of the ball, then the twist that is coming from the racquet. We utilize our ears a lot to pick up things,” the former world No.1 has been quoted as saying about the ATP Tour website.
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“It is obviously a huge drawback, in order to be able to do what he is doing is a huge effort.”
Lee will play Poland’s Hubert Hurkacs Tuesday in the next round and told colleagues:”I’m going to visit the match with exactly the identical attitude. I am definitely planning to do my best and see what happens.”
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