2023 US OpenUSATT News

Kou Lei Makes His Return to Ontario, California

by Joshua Dyke

Men's Singles Champion Kou Lei makes his anticipated return to the 2023 US Open in Ontario, CA.

Kou Lei has made his anticipated return to Ontario, California, for the 2023 US Open Championships. The 2x back-to-back 2021 and ’22 US Open Men's Singles Champion is back in Southern California for his shot at three titles in three years. Kou will also be playing for his second consecutive Men’s Doubles Championship.

“I’m happy to be back again, it’s the biggest tournament in the United States. Of course, there is pressure to play, and of course, I have to try my best to put on a good show in my matches.” — Kou Lei

Kou Lei enters the tournament with the opportunity to be the first 3-peat US Open Men’s Singles winner in 60 years — since Lee Dal Joon’s historic six straight men's singles wins from 1967-1973.

The competition level at the 2023 Open Championships has taken a massive leap forward from 2022 with the welcome additions of multiple international powerhouses such as China's Peking University Team, teams from Japan, and teams from Korea.

Stand-out opposition from the United States includes 2020 Tokyo Olympian Nikhil Kumar (2022 & 2023 US National Champion) and fellow Olympian Xin Zhou (2021 US National Champion). Also attempting to dethrone the reigning champion and representing Canada is Eugene Wang (2012, 2013 & 2018 US Open Champion) who will also be in the mix for Men’s Singles.

Kou Lei will compete in the Men’s Doubles event alongside Koyo Kanamitsu as heavy favorites and one of the top seeds, the duo shares a combined rating of over 5,400. During Kou's gold medal run the previous year, he partnered with Ye Tian, as the two defeated an impressive pairing of Xiang Jing Zhang/Wenzhang Tao.

There is an excitement to see how events are to unfold this year. With less time to train in advance while coaching and the bar raised in all competitions, Kou Lei will have his work cut out for him at the 2023 US Open Table Tennis Championships.