The 17-year-old Shintaro Mochizuki made a name for himself at Wimbledon 2019, winning the title at 16 and drawing Roger Federer's attention. The 20-time Major champion invited the youngster to train with the world's leading players at the ATP Finals 2019, which was a massive opportunity for the upcoming star to test his skills and improve his game.
Mochizuki reached four Futures semi-finals and made the ATP debut in Singapore in February before receiving the Miami Open qualifying wild card. Working at IMG Academy since he was 12, the Japanese earned the opportunity to compete on the highest level after scoring two victories, setting the main draw clash against Thanasi Kokkinakis and losing 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 23 minutes.
Struggling on the second serve, a teenager lost over half of the initial shot points and got broken five times. Kokkinakis grabbed four breaks in set number two to seal the deal and advance into the second round. In his interview, Mochizuki praised Roger Federer and that invitation to train with him in London 2019.
The youngster described that practice session as a dream, learning a lot from Roger's relaxed and efficient hitting.
Shintaro Mochizuki praised Roger Federer and his hitting abilities.
"Roger is my hero. At the Nitto ATP Finals, I was there as a hitting partner, and I got to hit with him.
It was a dream; he hits so easy, just relaxed when he's playing. Many people are just playing with the power and emotions, but he's just hitting balls so easily. Roger taught me that you have to go for it if you have any chance to play more significant events.
I needed a wild card to enter the Miami Open; I'm still not ranked in the top-600 and this was a massive opportunity for me. The Singapore Open helped me a lot because it was my first ATP tournament, and I was so nervous; I played way below my level.
Miami is my second event, and I'm getting used to it. I'm enjoying playing on the tour. I came from Japan when I was 12 or 13; I went to the IMG Academy and started training. It was fun playing with people from other countries," Shintaro Mochizuki said.