Wasabi Stories vol.119: “About Retirement of a Japanese Tennis Player”


wasabi stories— ABOUT  Wasabi Stories… —


“About Retirement of a Japanese Tennis Player”

Today’s story teller is an author, Shizuka Ijuin.

His story was about a female tennis player, [W:Ai Sugiyama], who just retired.

A few years ago, he happened to see Sugiyama at a cafe in an airport in Europe.

She was talking with another woman with serious face.

Assuming she was on the way to a match, he said “good luck” to her in his mind when he passed by her.


At that time, Ijuin spend a half of a year in overseas countries.

Wherever he was during tennis season, it was his pleasure to see sports column of a paper to check Sugiyama’s results.

Ijuin was always encouraged by Sugiyama’s brave attitude although her physique doesn’t match those of foreign players.

In late September, her retirement ceremony was held, which Ijuin see on TV and was really impressed.


“I thought not so many players aren’t given blessing when they retire. Her rivals who have played against her with full of fighting spirit shed tears. It touched my heart. Sugiyama must be loved by everyone. I was also moved by Sugiyama’s consideration to fellows and their friendship. ”


Most of time in a year, she traveled the world for severe matches and evaluated in unsparing ranking.

Ijuin said it is unimaginable severity and praiseworthy for her to have played 17 years.


“More amazingly, she entered the four Grand Slam tournaments continuously 62 times, which is the world best record among male and female players. She must have stood on a court bearing with physical trouble. She is a wonderful player. ”


Through an article about her retirement, he found that the woman she was talking with at the airport was her mother, who attended on Sugiyama as a coach and worked together in the competition world.

Ijuin concluded the story with his applause to her mother who had supported her daughter.


The NIKKEI Oct/20/2009  by Shizuka Ijuin (author)



You should follow me on Twitter.