Photo: Chris Vaughan / Tennis FoundationYui Kamiji (JPN)
Born with spina bifida, Yui Kamiji started playing wheelchair tennis when she was 11 and former world No. 1 Esther Vergeer predicted Kamiji would have a bright future after they first met in competition at the 2008 Japan Open, when Kamiji was just 14.
That prediction has, of course, proved accurate and Kamiji became the first non-Dutch player to win the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters in November 2013 before winning her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in June this year, also becoming the world No.1 women’s singles and doubles player.
At the upcoming last of the Super Series and Grand Slam tournaments of 2014 in the United States, 20-year-old Kamiji will bid to win her third successive Super Series singles title of the year in St. Louis and also bid to complete a calendar year set of Grand Slam women’s doubles titles with Brit Jordanne Whiley in New York.
How did you start playing wheelchair tennis?
My mum read about wheelchair tennis on the internet and suggested to me that I tried it. I also tried wheelchair basketball.
Do you have any nicknames?
If you weren’t a tennis player, what would you be?
A court administration official
Which website do you check the most?
The ITF Wheelchair Tennis website (that’s us, of course – www.itftennis.com/wheelchair)
What do you regard as your biggest achievement in tennis?
Winning Roland Garros
And your worst moment on court?
The Australian Open final this year because it was my first singles final at a Grand Slam and I was very nervous
What do you do when you’re not playing tennis?
I like listening to music and watching action movies
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Who is the most famous person in your phone book?
No one really, I’ve mainly got family and friends in my phone
If you were singing karaoke, what song would you pick?
Under Your Sky by a Japanese group called Globe
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
What was the last music you downloaded on iTunes?
I don’t use iTunes, I prefer to buy CDs.
Tell us something about you that we don’t know…
From the age of six to 12 I played the piano but gave up to be able to play more tennis