It was an unforgettable experience, and the bold move paid off. Jung-kyu is having a great offseason.
Prior to the start of the Dodram 2022-2023 V-League, Jung-kyu left his beloved Samsung Fire via trade (Lee Seung-won, Jung-kyu, Hwang Seung-bin ⟷ Ryu Yun-sik, Lee Sang-wook, Lee Ho-gun, Ha Hyun-yong, Hong Ki-sun) to join the Woori Card. Although he saw less time on the court as an outside hitter, his role as a one-point server remained the same for the new team. With his powerful serve, it was his job to change the momentum when the game was in his favor and seal the win when it was in his favor. In all 36 regular season games for the Woori Card, Jung Sung-kyu totaled 13 service points.
We had a chance to speak with him briefly during his profile shoot for the 2023-2024 season at Songlim Gymnasium in Incheon on February 2. “It was my first season with Woori Card, and although it was short, it was memorable because it was the first time I played spring volleyball after my professional debut. I spent less time on the court than I did with Samsung Fire. I wanted to play more often as an outside hitter, but it was a bit disappointing. I think I wasn’t able to match the coach’s style yet,” she said, reflecting on the season that was a mixture of disappointment and joy.
스포츠토토When asked what he is focusing on in the off-season, Jung said, “I’m working hard on my serve because I need to maintain my strength, and I’m also working on my defense and reception. I’m especially focused on my defense. This is because I have to defend even when I go into a one-point server.” “This offseason, I changed my serve form and the height of my serve toss. I chose a form where I don’t throw it as high as before, but rather let it float and then run forward to hit it, and it seems to work well for me,” he said.
Volleyball wasn’t the only off-season activity for Jung, who also threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game between the Lotte Giants and KT Wiz on August 26 at Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan. “I’ve always loved baseball, so it felt great to get a chance to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. I was very nervous when I threw. I wanted to throw well, but the distance from the pitching plate to the mitt was longer than I thought. I was more nervous than when I was serving (laughs). It was the same feeling as when I started playing volleyball,” he recalled.
As a one-point server, Jung is one of the strongest players in the V-League. His main weapons are a strong heart and a fighting spirit that never falters in any situation. “My attitude of never being afraid of failure and my confidence are my weapons that are second to none,” he said. “I actually enjoy situations where I have to show something, like 20-20 or 24-24. If I do my job well in these situations, I can be in the spotlight. I’m not afraid of failure, at least when it comes to serving,” he said, revealing his strong confidence in his serve.
We also asked him about his most memorable serve and who he thinks is the best one-point server besides himself. He first mentioned his memorable serve in the third set against Hyundai Capital in the fourth round last season. On that day, Jeong ended the third set at 25-24 with a serve to win the set at 1-1. He said, “It was a moment when we needed to win. “It was a moment when we were desperate to win,” he said, looking back on the match. He also mentioned Hyundai Capital’s Lee Siu as a one-point server who he thinks is good, saying, “He was the first person I thought of when I heard the question. He’s a very good player,” Jung Sung-kyu said, adding, “I think I’ll have to do better next season.” He laughed.
However, he also wants to spend more time on the court as an outside hitter than a one-point server. “Actually, I’m not very confident in other areas besides my serve. It’s because I don’t play a lot of matches, so my senses are a little off. I think the most important thing is to overcome my fear and find my rhythm. I don’t have any problems with the setter. (Lee) Seung-woong has played with me before at Samsung Fire, so there’s no problem, and I’m getting along well with (Han) Tae-joon,” he said. “It’s not easy for me to take the starting spot right now. Instead, I want to fulfill my role well if I get on the court,” he said, showing a calm and humble demeanor.
He concluded the interview by saying, “We had a lot of changes in the roster until the last Cup, so we needed some time to gel. I think the players will be able to show good enough when the season starts. I hope you will come to the stadium to watch us play,” he said to the fans. In the upcoming season, Jangchung Gymnasium will see the fearless serve of one point server Jung Sung-kyu and the development of outside hitter Jung Sung-kyu.