Kei Nishikori, whose success we have highlighted here has opened up the road for younger Japanese tennis players to follow.
One such player is Yoshihito Nishioka. The 16 year old was brought to IMG Academy by the Morita Foundation just like Kei before him. Yoshihito has been at the IMG Academy Bollettieri tennis program for 2 years and has built a very good relationship with the other Japanese tennis players and Kei. Coach Jose Lambert says,
Kei acts like a mentor when he is here training. He hits with the guys and they share a very close connection. Kei opened the road for them and he helps give them confidence and hope that they can succeed like he has. He is their role model.
Yoshihito, who is ranked #49 in amateurs, recently made the jump to playing professional tennis and has had success in his first few tournaments. Playing futures tournaments, he has made it through the qualifiers in his first two events, in both Austin, TX and Birmingham, AL. In both tournaments Yoshihito made it through 4 rounds of qualifiers to make the main draw.
Yoshihito made it to the finals in Alabama before being beaten by Jason Kubler. His goal for the year was to make 1 ATP point but he has already received 10 in just 2 events.