How a retired professional tennis player is changing the landscape of sports equipment
Jul 25, 2022
What does it take to be the best? Or the fastest? Coolest? Strongest?
This depends on innumerable factors, but most importantly: context. What if, however, achieving the best, is less important to most people than achieving, their best?
Sky Kim, a South Korean tennis player, achieved a dream that so many young athletes share, yet so few can possibly fulfill: play professional sports. The story of Road to Pro, Inc. begins with Sky Kim, founder and CEO, who trained at IMG, before playing professionally and ranking in the World’s Top 500. Sky recalls his career’s biggest hurdle, “The biggest opponent is not the player across the net but injuries that you get.”
Despite achieving his dream, Sky battled numerous injuries that stole his mobility, comfort and practice time. He was forced to retire from the sport he loved in his early 20’s. Sky knew there had to be a way for players to better prevent injuries before they occurred. He also recognized that such a product or technology likely didn’t yet exist - he would have to create it.
Sky found a lot of success and enjoyment coaching high level pros and juniors after retiring from his own competitive career. In 2017, under Sky’s coaching, South Korean tennis star, Hyeon Chung had monumental successes, cracking the ATP Top 30. Chung’s career milestones include a victory over Andrey Rublev in 2017’s ATP Next-Gen Final.
Months later, at 2018’s Australian Open, Chung took down Mischa Zverev, Daniil Medvedev, a best of 5 over Alexander Zverev and a straight sets win over #1 Novak Djokovic, all before retiring in the semi-finals due to injury. Another testament to the unjust nature, yet supposed inevitability of injuries in sports.
Sky used his coaching platform and meticulous, curious nature to develop and test a brand new type of shock absorbing dampener. What set this one apart was that it incorporated the most absorbent material he could possibly find: Sorbothane. Sky relentlessly tweaked and tested the dampener’s design, over one-hundred times, until it was ready for mass-production, perfectly balancing absorption, stability and durability. In 2018, The ShockSorb launched via a KickStarter Campaign, as the World’s first dampener to reduce arm pain.
Never sitting still, Sky began working on other performance-based and injury-prevention equipment. Later came The Heel Pad XC a shoe insert specifically for shock absorption on the heels, ankles and knees.
Most recently, the UltraGrip Socks were developed for better in-shoe traction to fight blisters and bruising. RTP’s products combined offer unprecedented levels of protection, performance, and comfort during high-level tennis and other rigorous physical activities. RTP’s products help athletes in all sports across the world play at their true potential with reduced risks of injury. Available on Amazon and RTPTennis.com, a portion of proceeds fuels the next generation of tennis athletes through financial backing and product endorsements. Today, Sky has a family of four and lives in Los Angeles, coaching and operating Road to Pro, Inc.