Max Lee and Leo Au looking for 30th anniversary breakthrough
The Hong Kong Open marks its 30th anniversary this year, with
two home-grown male players, Max Lee Ho-yin whose world
ranking just reached a career high of #13, and the newly-crowned
Asian Champion Leo Au Chun-ming, who both hope this could
be the year for a breakthrough.
The Hong Kong Open attracts the world's elite players to compete
every year, but the local mens players have never made it past
the first round.
11th Open for Max, Ten up for Leo
Max, aged 27, will be playing in the event for the
eleventh time having first appeared in the 2004 event, and is
excited that his world ranking allows him direct entry to the
main draw, where he will feature for the sixth time and fifth
year in a row.
Hong Kong #1, Max has turned in some remarkable performances in
this the second half of the year; he first defended his title in
the HKFC International, and also captured the title in the Macau
Open for the first time, boosting his confidence for breaking to
the second round in the coming HK Open.
"Our performances will be always based on our physical
conditions, plan executions, the opponents, and even luck," said
Max, "but given all that, we will definitely give our best to
strive for the best results."
Leo, 25, won his first Asian Championship this May and is
also in the main draw, via the wild card spot. This will be his
tenth Open, having made his debut in2006, and his third
appearance in the main draw.
"The expectation on me this year is higher than in previous
years since I achieved some good results, which show I am
improving and I can play some great squash as well," said Leo.
Growing up with the Open
The two local stars grew up watching the Hong Kong Open and
became huge fans of this world class event. Max has been holding
the attitude of "keep breaking through" with the Open for all
"I have been participating in the event since I was a junior, I
used to enter the main event as the wild card or play in the
qualifying rounds when I was eager to break into the main event.
Now I finally made it, I'm setting my target higher, hoping I
can reach the second round or even further."
For Leo, the Open was definitely the best way enhance his squash
knowledge and skill when he was a junior.
"There was less live broadcast back then, so the Hong Kong Open
would be the only chance to witness the top players competing in
front of us and to learn from them. So I was really thrilled to
participate in the event when I grew up."
Tough Tasks ahead
Neither face easy tasks though, as Leo is up against Egyptian
sixth seed Omar Mosaad, who reached the finals of the
U.S. Open and the World Champs in the last two big events, and
Max is set to face France's Gregory Gaultier, the third
seed who won both of those events, beating Omar in the finals.
With the support of the home crowds, Max and Leo believe they
could have their best performances yet, while this annual squash
extravaganza is an opportunity for the younger generation to
enjoy the highest level of squash in order to enhance their
awareness of the game.
And maybe the next Max and Leo will be watching ...
Leo and Max today
Max makes main draw in 2007
and in 2014
Original story on
Leo beats Aziz in 2011
in 2014 Qualy Finals