September 13, 2007
Getting To Know... Ayumi Morita
With so many talented teenagers on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour at present, it is perhaps no surprise another has emerged at this week's Commonwealth Bank Tennis Classic on the Indonesian island of Bali. The youngster in question is 17-year-old Japanese rising star Ayumi Morita, who on Friday will take on world No.12 Daniela Hantuchova in her maiden Tour quarterfinal.
sonyericssonwtatour.com caught up with Ayumi over the summer and got the lowdown about life on the Tour.
Tell us about your home town?
I'm from a part of Japan called Gunma, it's located in the northwest corner of the Kanto region on Honshu Island. Although, now I'm on Tour I'm always traveling around and not spending so much time at home.
Tell us a little bit about your family?
We are a really close family and they have always given me so much support in tennis and everything else. My mother Hiromi and father Tomohiro were both keen tennis players and it's because of them that I started to play. I also have a little brother called Kazuhiro, but at the moment he is not really into tennis as he's more of a baseball fan.
How did you get into tennis?
As I mentioned before, my mother and father both liked to play tennis and so when I was younger I would always go to the courts with them to watch them play. I think eventually they gave me a chance to play with them too and so every week they started to hit with me a little bit. After a while they saw I was enjoying it and so they decided to sign me up for tennis lessons and then I started to play more and more.
How is tennis doing at the moment in Japan?
I think it is doing well at present. We have quite a few good players and hopefully there will be more like me coming through. At the moment obviously there is Ai [Sugiyama] who has had so much success, but also Akiko [Morigami] and Aiko [Nakamura] who have both done really well recently. I think we have good support for our up and coming players and the Japan Tennis Association help me out when I need it, so I think we have a good future.
Do you have any tennis heroes past or present?
When I first got interested in tennis I loved Martina Hingis. She plays such clever tennis and is so elegant on court. It's great she made a comeback and so currently, alongside Martina, I think Justine Henin is amazing and Ai [Sugiyama] is a great player too who I really look up to. She has done so much for Japanese tennis and now I'm lucky enough to hit with her sometimes, because I train at her academy and work sometimes with Ai's mother Fusako as well.
What off-court training do you do?
I do quite a lot of running and swimming to stay in good overall shape and I also go to the gym to do weights work as I need to build up my strength if I want to compete with the top players on Tour. Although, with all the on-court training I have there's not that much time to go to do that much else, but when I can, I do!
What is the best memory of your tennis career so far?
It was very special when I defeated Ai this year in Birmingham, because as I mentioned she is one of my heroes and I respect her so much. To beat her in the second round of a tournament was very special and is definitely the highlight of my career so far.
What kinds of things do you like to do for fun off the court?
Nothing that unusual really, I'm quite a normal teenager and I like listening to music, hanging out with my friends and of course to go to the shops! Other than that I enjoy swimming, reading and I used to play the piano when I was younger. In fact this is something I'd like to start up again, but for now I have my hands full with tennis.
What do you think you would have done if you had not become a tennis player?
I think I would probably just be a student right now. I mean I'm only 17, so I'd being going to school tomorrow morning! I think if I hadn't been able to become a professional player I would have liked to continue my studies and try to go to university. As I love sport so much, I guess I would do a course relating to sports, but thankfully so far the tennis is working out quite well so I haven't had to think too much about it!