When I was three years old, my father took me to the tennis court. I was hooked straight away. I’ve always just really enjoyed the game.
That enjoyment, that pleasure is still there now. It’s still the main reason I play, simply because I love playing the game. I love the way it gives me an opportunity to grow as a person. You have to be open to learning from your mistakes and you have to be committed to giving it your all every time. Those are the things that will make you better. In tennis and in life.
It’s one of the greatest challenges in tennis, to analyse a match and see what you can learn. It’s a really important part of the way you improve.
My best so far
Up until now, my proudest moment has been winning my first WTA title in Rio. I’ve heard players say that your first tournament win is special. Now I know what they mean. Rio will always be a special moment in my career. My goal now is to play my way into the top 20.
That enjoyment, that pleasure is still there now. It’s still the main reason I play, simply because I love playing the game.
JapanCountry of Birth
30 December 1991Birthday
2009Date Turned Pro
5'1" / 155Height (ft / cm)
1WTA Singles titles
Righ handed, two handed backhand
Day in. Day out.
My daily routine is pretty straightforward. I try and play as much practice tennis as I can. I find the more I play, the more my body and my mind just know what to do in match situations. So it becomes like muscle memory.
But we all have tough days, either in competition or in practice. The important thing is to know how to pick yourself back up. For me, I enjoy eating delicious food. That helps me feel better. I just always try to remember that persistence pays off, because I think that making an effort is very important.
The life we lead can definitely be a little hectic. We don’t stay in one place for very long and that can be tiring. Mentally and physically. I just try to enjoy every day and remember how lucky I am to live this life. There are also places and tournaments I really enjoy, Indian Wells is one of my favourites to play because I’m really comfortable with dry air.
Away from tennis, I like watching Moto GP. It’s a good sport to watch as it’s so different from what I do. But there’s still a commitment from the riders to push themselves to be the best they can. I can relate to that. Valentino Rossi is one of my role models, I just love the way he’s completely dominated the sport for years. And he has his own unique style. Ai Miyasato is someone else I look up to. She’s been a great example for female sports professionals. She’s someone who conducts herself in a very good way, one I try to emulate.
For a complete change of pace, I’m happy to spend the day shopping. That’s a nice way to totally decompress.
But we all have tough days, either in competition or in practice. The important thing is to know how to pick yourself back up.