Shintaro Mochizuki on Sunday became the 1st Japanese player to win a boy’s Grand Slam title, beating Carlos Gimeno Valero of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in the Wimbledon final. The 16-YO, who was playing just his third grass-court tournament, said he had learned a lot from his compatriot, 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori.
Shintaro Mochizuki made history on Sunday becoming the first Japanese player to win a boy’s Grand Slam title, beating Carlos Gimeno Valero of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in the Wimbledon final. The 16-YO, who was playing just his third grass-court tournament, follows 1969 girls singles title winner Kazuko Sawamatsu in triumphing at the grass-court Grand Slam.
Mochizuki said he had learned a lot from his compatriot, 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori. “He’s really nice,” said Mochizuki. “He gives me a lot of advice. “Like sometimes I practice with him. I learn from him a lot. Yeah, he’s smart.” Nishikori, nine times a Grand Slam quarter-finalist, took to Twitter almost immediately to fete his compatriot.
“Huge congrats to @ShintaroMOCHIZU! Such an amazing tournament,” tweeted the Japanese star, adding a thumbs up icon, a flexed bicep icon & several Japanese flags. However, it is not 29-year-old Nishikori who is his idol. “Roger Federer, I love watching him on TV, yeah,” he said.
“I don’t want to copy him, but I love watching him,” Mochizuki said he had been mindful of his implosion at the French Open when he led 5-2 in his semi-final only to lose. He said the pivotal moment had been when he was a setup but break points down early in the second set & managed to hold.
“In the first set, I got broken twice,” he said. “I wanted to hold my service game a lot. It was good. I played really tough. “He had some breakpoints, but I just tried my best to hold my service game. “Yes, it was a really important game for me.”
Mochizuki admitted not being used to playing in front of so many people on Court One had made him reluctant to perform in front of them. “I’m shy, so I was like, Why do I have to do that?” he said. “But it was fun. It’s so many people were there. I was a little bit nervous.”
However, once out there he rather enjoyed playing to his audience, with one jump smash being a special crowd pleaser. “It was a big chance to do that, so I just did it for fun,” he said. “It was an easy ball. I just wanted to make people have fun watching me.”