Rising Japanese star Shintaro Mochizuki was having major difficulties adjusting to grass just before his 2019 Wimbledon campaign. In 2019, Mochizuki became the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam boys' title. “I played one grass tournament two weeks before Wimbledon [in 2019] and the first day of practice, I was horrible.
I was like, ‘I don’t know how to play on grass, I don’t know what to do’; but I discussed it with my coach and I practised for a few days, I got used to it and I loved it," Mochizuki told the Wimbledon website.
Mochizuki enjoyed his experience with Roger Federer
After winning the 2019 Wimbledon boys' singles title, Mochizuki was a hitting partner for the eight participants of the Nitto ATP Finals in London. At the O2 Arena, Mochizuki had a chance to with record 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer.
“He’s my hero. It was a dream. In tennis he hits so easy, just relaxed when he’s playing,” Mochizuki told the ATP website earlier this year in Miami, where he qualified to make his Masters 1000 main draw debut.
“Many people are just playing with the power and emotions, but he's just hitting balls so easy. He taught me that if you have any chances to play bigger events, just go for it”. Rising American star Sebastian Korda has been drawing positive attention to his name in recent years.
Mochizuki and Korda often practice together. “I’ve been practising with him a lot last year but he moved up really high and I don’t get to practise with him any more,” Mochizuki laughed. “I’ve never played him in a real match and I heard he beat Kei Nishikori last week [in Halle], so I want to really play him on the tour”.
Mochizuki returned to Wimbledon for the first time since winning it. Mochizuki beat Hugo Gaston in his qualifying opener to set up a Tallon Griekspoor clash.