- School: University of Michigan
- Year Graduated: 2011
- Current Job: Professional Tennis Player; ATP #120 as of April 9, 2020.
Jason Jung was born in Torrance, California on June 15, 1989. He lived in Southern California until he graduated from West Torrance High School in 2007.
During his junior career, Jason reached a career high ITF junior ranking of 54 in January of 2006. He went through 2 qualifying rounds in the 2006 Junior US Open before falling to Thomas Fabbiano in the 1st rd of main draw. His juniors results ranked him #6 in his recruiting class going into college.
During his time at the University of Michigan, Jason played most of his matches at number 1 and 2 singles, and number 1 doubles. He was named to the All-Big Ten team in 2010 and 2011, when he also qualified for the NCAA Individual Championships for singles and doubles. During his junior year, Jason reached #38 in the ITA singles rankings. He paired with sophomore Evan King to reach #22 in the ITA doubles rankings his senior year.
After his time at Michigan, Jason had a bit of an unconventional route to the professional tour. He got an office job in Michigan following graduation, only to be laid off a couple of months in. Uncertain of what his next step would be, he decided to play a money tournament locally and won it, beating multiple good players. This led him to pursue a pro career. His first 6 months on tour were very difficult, as he mostly played in Asia and struggled to win matches. However, he was able to turn it around.
In his career to date, Jung has won 4 challenger titles in singles, as well as two challenger titles in doubles. His career high ranking in singles was obtained in July of 2018 at #114 in the world, while he currently sits at #120. His highlight tournament of 2019 occurred in at the New York ATP 250 event, where he reached the semifinals. He took down Kevin Anderson, Cameron Norrie (fellow MyTennisHQ interviewee!), and Reilly Opelka along the way before falling to Andreas Seppi.
On a personal note, I have spent a lot of time training alongside Jason in Palos Verdes, California With his coach, Oliver Messerli. He works extremely hard and is serious disciplined, but has found that his success has come when he enjoys the journey most. At 30 years of age, it is quite impressive that he is playing the best tennis of his career now. Enjoy our interview with Jason Jung!
7 Questions With Jason Jung
#1) What was your recruiting/school selection process like?
I talked to about 10 schools, but with the rules and how many official visits I could take, I focused on 5 that I really liked. I committed during the fall of my senior year in high school. My plan was to finish high school a semester early and start college in that Winter/Spring.
At the time when I was being recruited, I believe college coaches could call/text junior year. So whenever coaches could start recruiting that’s when I started my process. The first thing I looked for was a good tennis program. Second was academics. I was also looking at schools in another state, I thought that going away would help me see something different.
#2) What was your favorite moment/story/aspect of college?
Every year the athletic department would put on a show for the entire campus to raise money for the children’s hospital and each sport had to come up with a performance. So the seniors on our team found some dance videos on YouTube and we had to copy the dance moves. I was terrified because we were going to have to perform on stage in front of a huge crowd. It was actually really tough because there were 6 of us performing and we all had to get the moves right. We would practice everyday after tennis practice for 2 weeks. Looking back it was one of my favorite moments because our team all came together and worked hard to put on a good show. The team camaraderie was so special, being that tennis is so individual, I had never experienced something like that.
#3) How did college tennis prepare you for the rest of your career/life?
To be honest, I feel like my college tennis experience did not provide me the skills I needed for professional tennis. My skills as a tennis player did not meet the demands at the professional level. However, my experience of college overall helped prepare me for life after college. Learning how to balance school, tennis, and social life. Also being part of a team helped me be accountable for my actions, to not only think about myself.
#4) A lot of juniors and parents worry that tennis will suffer because of the academic demands of college. What advice would you give an 18-year old in terms of balancing academics and tennis?
I think this is case by case. Some students are very responsible with their work and can balance their academics with tennis practice right away. Others may have a tougher time. There is no doubt most incoming freshman will have trouble balancing academics and tennis. But athletic programs have academic centers and counselors dedicated to student athletes. All the resources are there to help student athletes, they just need to be utilized.
#5) Another thing we see parents worrying about is how the social component of college will affect their kids tennis. What would you tell an 18-year old going to college in regards to having fun without compromising their tennis/academics?
This is a tough one as it is case by case again. Depends on a kid’s upbringing. The social component is going to be there. It will depend on how motivated a kid is about tennis/school. There’s always a balance, and that’s one thing kids find out in college: how to balance all 3.
#6) Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you were starting college again today?
I would have picked a college closer to home. Not that I didn’t enjoy my time at school, but in terms of tennis I think it would have been more beneficial to me to be close to home. As juniors we probably worked with one or two coaches, and those coaches know our game and fundamentals very well. When you go to college you actually don’t know much about your coaches and their style of coaching. You may have an idea from what others have said about that coach, but you don’t really know until you experience it. I think having your junior coach nearby will help in continuing your development as a player.
#7) In your case, why did you think that college tennis was a good option as opposed to going directly to the pro tour?
I decided to go to college for a number of reasons. Physically I was not strong enough and I was always getting injured. I didn’t have a lot of pro level experience, think I only played 2 futures before school (ITF). Also I didn’t have the financial backing to go out on tour. And my parents wanted me to get an education even if it meant going to college for 2 years then finishing later.
The most valuable aspect of college tennis to me was learning how to lead. I was the captain during my senior year and it really forced me to lead by example. Well, by nature I’ve always worked hard, but my senior year we had 4 freshman and I did my best to help them in any way I could.