What is the problem with Japanese tennis? - TennisForum.com

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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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What is the problem with Japanese tennis?

Japan has been the world's 2nd largest economy for ages yet it continues to do so poorly in sport - especially team-related one (such as its joke of a soccer squad ).

Yet with all that money, resources and population, how come it hasn't even produced a player that could get to a GS final?

The most common reasons I've heard are that tennis isn't popular and therefore it's expensive to pay for training and coaches. It explains a lot, but other countries - like Germany - have trouble trying to keep tennis on the radar, yet have had champions such as Graf and Becker.

Another one is that its players are generally shorter build and therefore are nearly always overpowered by their bigger, 6-foot-tall opponents. But Takao Suzuki had Federer on the ropes at the Japan Open a couple of weeks ago (although we could put it down to home soil advantage, which in that case Suzuki's performance doesn't mean that much if it's a one-off thing).

And an interesting one is that the current generation are complacent and don't train as hard compared to others. The high costs in Japan might have something to do with it, but when you hear stories about how much discipline and hard work Eastern European and Chinese players put up with, it's no wonder Japanese tennis in general is so far behind.

I'm interested to know what other reasons there are to explain poor results from Japan
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:21 PM
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For women, the physical aspect is a big disadvantage for most. In Japan, tennis is still more of a women's sport. It's not as popular with men. Japan is good at many sports though.

Watch out for Ayumi Morita on the women's side though, she has huge potential.

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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:23 PM
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maybe they are more interested in work with the mind and not with the body
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:26 PM
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yes, Asians tend to be smaller than most races. Even if they are taller than some white people, they probably have smaller frames. I'm Asian and even though I'm taller than most of the people I play with, they have more muscle and are "thicker" than me. That's a huge disadvantage in tennis (esp. on the serve), considering you have people so tall like Sharapova and Dani, etc.

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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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I think you misunderstood me - even though tennis isn't popular, by this time Japan should've at least have had one significant champion. It has about $5 trillion in GDP, plus a population of almost 130 million. The resources are there, yet almost nothing came out of it That's why I brought up Germany as an example. Tennis is also today not a very popular sport (compared to soccer) yet somehow they had a Steffi Graf and a Boris Becker. Japan has a similar situation (tennis < soccer) yet it only had a Kimiko Date and a Shuzo Matsuoka. Not meaning to diss them or anything, but not even having a GS title is a huge embarassment considering all other major industrialised countries have had at least one GS champion. Why not Japan?

Another problem with the "tennis isn't popular" explanation is that even when a sport's popular, Japan still doesn't do well. I mean, look at its soccer team
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by komorli
yes, Asians tend to be smaller than most races. Even if they are taller than some white people, they probably have smaller frames. I'm Asian and even though I'm taller than most of the people I play with, they have more muscle and are "thicker" than me. That's a huge disadvantage in tennis (esp. on the serve), considering you have people so tall like Sharapova and Dani, etc.
Height really shouldn't be that big of an issue. Yes, it can be a disadvantage but being tall can also be one as well - Sharapova's no.1 weakness is her movement. Besides, Henin-Hardenne and Hingis have proven that height disadvantages can be overcome.
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:34 PM
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Well simply said, there is just isn't enough support from the gov't. I have read this article from the Tennis Magazine awhile ago about tennis in Japan (for both male and female). I hope I can dig it up again. Well if you look at China, the US, the Aussies and even the UKs, they have a rather well funded tennis association or in China's case, backed by the Government. So for these countries, the resource is there to train the players. Let's take China again, it wasn't until recently that Chinese players ripe and go on to win tournaments (and 1 GS doubles title). So I think the problem with Japan is either that their tennis association is not well funded, or Government gives no support or both.
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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas.chung
Well simply said, there is just isn't enough support from the gov't. I have read this article from the Tennis Magazine awhile ago about tennis in Japan (for both male and female). I hope I can dig it up again. Well if you look at China, the US, the Aussies and even the UKs, they have a rather well funded tennis association or in China's case, backed by the Government. So for these countries, the resource is there to train the players. Let's take China again, it wasn't until recently that Chinese players ripe and go on to win tournaments (and 1 GS doubles title). So I think the problem with Japan is either that their tennis association is not well funded, or Government gives no support or both.
I also think funding could be a problem, but other countries that aren't as cash-strapped as Japan have had a number of champions, especially Eastern European and South American countries.

It's so frustrating sometimes watching how tennis (or sport in general) have developed in Japan. Generally, there's almost no diversity in their gamestyle - it's almost always baseliners with completely flat shots that go from side-to-side. Heck, even Aiko Nakamura's ready stance is exactly the same as Sugiyama's

What I'm getting at is that money isn't really the problem - everything about Japanese tennis is.
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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:42 PM
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i dont think sport is as big in japan as western society


i like the crowd though at the tourneys!!!

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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fufuqifuqishahah
i dont think sport is as big in japan as western society


i like the crowd though at the tourneys!!!
Japan used to do so well in the Olympics - a consistent top-5 finish in the final medal tallies. Big difference was that the past generation understood very well that hard work and discipline = results. The current generation are more concerned about video-games, mobile phones and watching the latest cheesy soap dramas from Korea

Quote:
Originally Posted by pcrtennis
Watch out for Ayumi Morita on the women's side though, she has huge potential.
Ayumi Morita's talented but do you honestly think she's GS material? She has the potential to do what Kimiko Date did, but I doubt she'll go any further.
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post #11 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 05:31 PM
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I don't know - the courts by my house are filled with people of Asian descent, including Japanese!

Ai Sugiyama, anybody????

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post #12 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 05:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritas
Japan used to do so well in the Olympics - a consistent top-5 finish in the final medal tallies. Big difference was that the past generation understood very well that hard work and discipline = results. The current generation are more concerned about video-games, mobile phones and watching the latest cheesy soap dramas from Korea
Japan never was a figure in track and field, and that's the category that has been expanded the most. Japan can usually be counted on to rake in men's gymnastics medals and a couple swimming events, plus the one-off minor sports (badminton, table tennis, etc.). I think the biggest hindrance to Japanese tennis is the prevalence of alternatives. Also, tennis didn't arrive in Japan until after WWII, whereas Germany has been in tennis country for ages. If you look down the ranks of junior girls, the next twenty years should be very promising for Japanese tennis.
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post #13 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyguydsl
I don't know - the courts by my house are filled with people of Asian descent, including Japanese!

Ai Sugiyama, anybody????
I love Ai, but honestly can you picture her winning a GS title and reaching no.1?

Again, I'm not knocking Japan down, but I am pointing out how it's seriously underperformed in sport, especially tennis.
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post #14 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 06:57 PM
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They sure have no problem with figure skating.




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post #15 of 52 (permalink) Old Oct 23rd, 2006, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orion
Japan never was a figure in track and field, and that's the category that has been expanded the most. Japan can usually be counted on to rake in men's gymnastics medals and a couple swimming events, plus the one-off minor sports (badminton, table tennis, etc.). I think the biggest hindrance to Japanese tennis is the prevalence of alternatives. Also, tennis didn't arrive in Japan until after WWII, whereas Germany has been in tennis country for ages. If you look down the ranks of junior girls, the next twenty years should be very promising for Japanese tennis.
A country's truly great in sports when it produces the results consistently. It's no good having spectacular results here and there - it only proves that the medals and titles come only when certain athletes are present, not the country in general.

It's only recently Japan managed to pull some of its traditionally good sports together. Before Athens, there was about a twenty year gap where Japan hardly won medals in gymnastics and swimming - most of those were won by the U.S., Russia and China. It's really no coincidence that from 1988 to 2000, Japan didn't even finish close to the top-10 in the medal tally.

And it's also no concidence that its worst performance happened in the 90s when its economy was suffering because of bad investments and a pathetic government that didn't have clue how good decisions are made.

Anyway, back to tennis - correct me here (if I'm wrong) but didn't Japan had a men's team that made the final of the Davis Cup before WWII? If that's the case, then I'm pretty sure tennis wasn't exactly foreign during those times.
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