Becoming a Tennis Pro!--Playing Matches throughout the World
Finished 3rd at All Japan Tennis Championships
Won the Japan Intercollegiate Tennis Championships
Yuki Mochizuki (4th-Year Student, Faculty of Law)
Chuo University Tennis Team
After graduation, Yuki Mochizuki (4th-year student in the Faculty of Law) of the Chuo University Tennis Team will begin his journey as a professional tennis player. He recently posted a personal-best finish of 3rd place at the 94th All Japan Tennis Championships, which was held in October and November of 2019 to decide the top tennis player in Japan. He also won the Japan Intercollegiate Tennis Championships during his junior year. His future goal is to compete in the tennis Grand Slam (four major tennis competitions).
"Tennis is so much fun!"
The most striking thing about Mochizuki is his cheerful smile. However, upon changing into tennis gear, his happy countenance changes to serious expression. There are many tennis players who play their games calmly with an emotionless poker face; nevertheless, he frequently smiles during his matches.
"Of course, I don't fool around during my matches," says Mochizuki. "Even so, I want to have fun playing tennis after becoming a professional player even when locked in an intense game. Losing my enthusiasm for the game would be like losing a part of myself."
Mochizuki's father was a tennis coach and his mother had played soft tennis, so he was raised with a racket in his hands. When he was a child, his favorite thing was to hit the ball back and forth over the net. Today, Mochizuki enjoys playing official matches more than training or practice games, probably because he enjoys the tense atmosphere and the sense of drama.
"I love coming up with a strategy while competing against opponents, and hitting nice shots during the course of the game," he explains. "Nothing thrills me more."
Actually, despite being talented enough to win the Japanese high school championship in the boys' singles division, Mochizuki was not planning on turning pro when he first entered Chuo University. Instead, his initial thought was to enjoy playing tennis during his four years at university and then to find employment.
Won an international tournament during his second year at university
In the world of professional tennis, the Grand Slam tournaments are the top tournaments. Lower-level tournaments include the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Masters and the ITF (International Tennis Federation) Futures. Mochizuki won the ITF Futures Hong Kong Tournament during his second year at university.
"Winning the Futures title while I was still a university student gave me confidence that I could do more in tennis," explains Mochizuki. Based on this newfound sense of accomplishment and potential, he decided to pursue a pro career in the early summer of his third year. "Right now, I'm having a lot of fun, but I also have a lot of worries--I wonder if I will be able to make a livelihood through tennis."
Of course, tennis pros compete in a tough world where winning is expected. While players such as Roger Federer (Switzerland), Novak Djokovic (Serbia), and Kei Nishikori (Japan) have huge winnings and are known throughout the world, these are just a handful of players at the top of the ranking.
In addition to improving his tennis ability, Mochizuki must also search for sponsors himself. He plans to participate in about 20 tournaments per year, mainly in the Asian region, with an aspiration to participate in higher-level tournaments in Europe and the United States. In order to participate in the Grand Slam qualifiers, Mochizuki will have to dramatically increase his ATP ranking. He is currently ranked in the 500s, but he will have to move up to among the top 250.
"I want people to feel proud about having gone to university with me."
"I hope that all Chuo graduates will work hard to achieve their goals and dreams," says Mochizuki when asked to send a message of encouragement to his fellow students who are graduating with him. "Personally, I will strive to become a great tennis player, and I hope that my fellow students will someday feel proud about having gone to Chuo University with me. Also, I would like to say thanks for all of the help that I have received from my teammates in the Chuo University Tennis Team for four years. Finally, I encourage younger players to set their hopes high and practice hard."
Enduring rigorous physical training in the quest for enthralling play
Mochizuki has a great forehand. He gets his opponents off-balance with his serve and then blasts a winning shot during the ensuing rally. During rallies, he seizes the advantage and looks for the perfect opportunity to go on the attack. Mochizuki is an all-around player. He actively steps in from the baseline, quickly hits return shots, and does not give his opponents time to get comfortable.
Mochizuki is not large in stature for a tennis player. To compensate, he studies nutrition and trains his body trunk. Through repeated off-the-court training including running, weight training, and core training, his weight has increased by 10 kilograms compared to his first year at university. Through these efforts, he has created a physique that is resistant to injury. He is intensely focused on putting his full power into his shots and producing heavy balls.
"Federer attracts fans and is supported no matter what country he plays in," says Mochizuki. "I also want to become a player who inspires people through tennis. I still have a long way to go in terms of refining my tennis."
The future is limitless for Mochizuki. We hope that his skillful shots will propel him onto the global stage.
"He excels at developing an in-game strategy. Watching his tennis is thrilling!"
--High Expectations for Mochizuki--
Ryuichi Kitazawa, Coach Chuo University Tennis Team
Chuo University Tennis Team Coach Ryuichi Kitazawa has watched over Mochizuki's growth as a tennis player.
"He is a bright and cheerful player," says Coach Kitazawa. "His serious attitude towards tennis as our team's ace is a positive example for younger players."
Coach Kitazawa explains Mochizuki's playing style as "His greatest weapon is his smooth forehand stroke. His play brings excitement to spectators. He obviously loves tennis and enjoys playing it. He is still like a young boy at heart who is fascinated by tennis."
When discussing other notable strengths of Mochizuki, Coach Kitazawa points out how he excels at developing an in-game strategy, an important element of winning tennis. He continues, Mochizuki still has room to grow stronger and increase his power but once he adds physical strength to the technique which is already among the finest in Japan, Mochizuki is expected to accomplish great things.
"He is the first pro to come out of Chuo University in a long time, so his play is attracting a lot of attention," says Coach Kitazawa. "I hope his hard work will positively impact the young players in our team and that they become motivated to catch up with or surpass Mochizuki."
"He has chosen the difficult path of becoming a professional player," says Coach Kitazawa when discussing Mochizuki's future. "As a result, he is going to learn a lot more about tennis. Tennis is now his profession, and while being supported by many people including sponsors and fans, he may become under intense pressure. Even so, his attitude of playing tennis with joy is his great asset, and I hope that he will retain his love for tennis as he takes on the world's top players."
First Pro Tennis Player from Chuo University since Tsuyoshi Fukui
173 centimeters and 66 kilograms. Graduated from Seifu Senior High School in Osaka. Currently, he is a 4th-year student in the Chuo University Faculty of Law. During his 3rd year of high school, he won the Japanese high school championship in the boys' singles division and finished second in the team division. He entered Chuo University because he was drawn by the team ethos of straightforward and steadfast. He won the Japan Intercollegiate Tennis Championships during his 3rd year at university, becoming the first player from Chuo University to do so in 40 years (the last Chuo player win was Tsuyoshi Fukui, who is currently Secretary General of the Japanese Olympic Committee and Senior Executive Director of the Japan Tennis Association). Mochizuki is also the first Chuo player to turn pro since Fukui.
"I enjoy team competitions," says Mochizuki. He says that his most memorable event during his four years at Chuo University was the team competition in the Kanto University League 1 during his third year. The competition was held against Waseda University, which had ruled over collegiate tennis in Japan for many years. A total of nine games were played as singles and doubles matches. The two university were tied 4-4 with only Mochizuki's match left to play. Mochizuki took a 4-1 lead into the final set, only to have the match suspended due to sunset. However, once the match resumed the following day, the tide turned completely. It ultimately went to a tie-breaker and Mochizuki lost. "I was so frustrated by the loss that I could barely speak," he recalls.