Tennis may not be a traditional Japanese sport, in fact, it was recognized as a competitive sport in Japan in 1972. Japanese professional players are growing rapidly and are becoming a respectable force in world tournaments. Here, we take a look at the 10 best Japanese tennis players of all time.
Top 10 best Japanese tennis players
Early in the 20th century, a tennis variation known as “Hard Tennis” was played by the Japanese. Over time, sports enthusiasts changed it to fit the Japanese aesthetic and it became known as “Soft Tennis.” The former uses a yellow hardball, and the latter uses a soft rubber ball. The sport’s regulations remain unchanged. European nations began to support Japanese soft tennis after it was introduced to them in 2004. Japanese professional athletes are developing quickly and rising to the top of the world rankings. Here are the top 10 Japanese tennis players.
Shingo Kunieda is a professional tennis player in a wheelchair and has excelled in several championships in tennis. Kunieda is a right-handed player whose preferred surface is hard courts. He is coached by Hiromichi Maruyama. He is a former world number one wheelchair tennis player and ITF world champion from 2007 to 2010 and won 42 Grand Slam titles. Kunieda is the only player to hold the men’s singles title at the Paralympic Games. Additionally, Kunieda won the doubles gold medal at the 2004 Paralympics and was part of two wins at the Team World Cup.
Kunieda is renowned for a fantastic 3-year victory streak that spanned 106 straight matches from 2007 to 2010. Despite facing some challenges, he was able to win the title of best wheelchair tennis player by placing first. He sustained serious injuries in 2016 and 2017 and missed most of those years. He made a comeback in 2018 and took home the Sydney Super Series title. He has nine more Australian Open championships in addition to this one, which marks his first victory since June 2015. Shingo also captured four further championships in 2018, including the World Team Cup, the Asian Para Games, and the Roland Garros trophy.
Kei Nishikori is probably the greatest male tennis player from Japan. He has won a career bonus of less than $21 million to date, placing him at number 14 on the all-time list. Nishikori won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the sIngles category – the first time a Japanese tennis player has won an Olympic medal since 1920. He is also the first Japanese male tennis player to break into the top. 40 of the ATP rankings, the second to reach the top five in singles, and the first to reach a Grand Slam final.
No Japanese player can surpass Ai Sugiyama who has reached the top of the tennis rankings, whether at the ATP level or WTA level. Sugiyama was ranked No. 1 in doubles in October 2000. She also achieved a career-high of No. 8 in the world in singles in 2004. During her 17 years of WTA career, Sugiyama has won six WTA Singles titles and an impressive 28 WTA Doubles titles, and three women’s Grand slam titles. Sugiyama held the all-time record, for both men and women, with 62 consecutive major draws at Grand Slams, until being surpassed by Roger Federer at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships.
Referring to Japanese tennis players, the name Naomi Osaka cannot be ignored. She is the Japanese tennis star who made history when she became the first Asian-born player to hold the world’s No. 1 position in singles. Her victory in Japan was so significant that even the Prime Minister of Japan called to congratulate her shortly after her historic victory. Osaka has reached the top of the world career rankings at 7th place.
She is of mixed Haitian and Japanese ancestry and holds dual Japanese and US citizenship. Osaka’s breakout season was the 2018 tennis season, where she emerged as the top earner. Osaka is famous for its extremely fast speeds of over 200km/h despite its small stature. In 2016, she was named WTA Newcomer of the Year, and within two years she was in the top 5 of the WTA rankings.
Kimiko Date is one of the greatest Japanese tennis players of all time as well as a famous tennis legend. She started her professional career in 1989 and became one of the greatest Asian tennis players. She is a four-time Japanese Open champion and semi-finalist at every Grand Slam other than the US Open.
She had the best career ranking of No. 4 in the world in 1995, and in 1996, she assisted Japan in advancing to the Fed Cup semifinals. She first retired from professional tennis at the age of 45 in 1996 after suffering an injury. knee and shoulder. Almost 12 years later, she made a surprise return to tennis. She amassed a total of 8 singles and 6 doubles victories. She retired from sports at just 46 years old, in 2017.
Also one of the Japanese tennis players, Ryuki Miki is the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title. While working abroad for a private company in London, Miki participated in amateur tennis tournaments and played quite well. He competed in Wimbledon singles from 1929 to 1934 and reached the third round three times between 1930 and 1933. He also reached the third round of the French Open once and received quite a lot of attention. attention from experts at that time.
One of the greatest Japanese tennis players of all time is Ichiya Kumagae. He ranks high in his career as World Number 7 and has a remarkable 165-21 win-loss record in singles. Kumagae reached the semifinals of the US Open in 1918, losing to eventual champion Robert Murray in a dramatic five-set competition. His peak achievement was winning silver medals in both singles and doubles at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games and was also Japan’s first Olympic medalist.
Seiichiro Kashio, along with Ichiya Kumagae, was one of Japan’s first Olympic medalists and played competitive tennis in the 1920s. It was the largest title a Japanese player had ever won when he defeated American Walter Westbrook in the Canadian Open final. Seiichiro and fellow teammate Ichiya won silver medals in doubles at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp. The first Olympic medal ever won by Japan.
Near the bottom of the ranking of Japanese tennis players, we would like to name Shuzo Matsuoka. This is a quite famous name in Japan as well as in the tennis world with the achievements he has achieved. He reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 1995 and reached a career-high of 46 behind Wimbledon feats. Matsuoka was the first Japanese player to win the ATP title in 1992. He was also the first Japanese player to surpass the 1 million mark. It is an admirable achievement.
The last name in the list of Japanese tennis players is Zenzo Shimizu. Shimizu reached the All-Comers final of the 1920 Wimbledon Championships, where he lost to Bill Tilden 4–6, 4–6, 11-13. At the 1921 Wimbledon Championships, he reached the semi-finals where he lost to Manuel Alonso in five sets. He was a member of Japan’s Davis Cup team that finished second behind the United States in 1921. In 1921, Shimizu won the singles title at the Queen’s Club Championship by defeating Mohammed Sleem in the final finish in straight sets.
The Japan Tennis Association was originally founded in 1922 as Nihon Teikyu Kyoukai, a voluntary organization. Since the introduction of Western-style tennis into it, the Japanese people’s desire for international exchanges and participation in the global arena has grown stronger. With tennis gaining popularity around the world and especially in Asia, it’s no surprise that the recently concluded US Open has seen two Japanese athletes reach the semi-finals – and one of them will make history by winning the title. We have introduced to you the 10 most famous Japanese tennis players who have become legends of Japan in general and the world of tennis in particular. Hope to have brought useful information to you about this world-famous sport.