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Sports and Japan

Kunieda Reigns US Open Wheelchair Tennis Two Years in a Row

By September 15, 2015 at 12:21 pm
Shingo Kunieda at US Open semi-final.
Shingo Kunieda at US Open semi-final.(Photo : US Open Official Website)

Japan has Kei Nishikori competing in the world's major authentic tennis tournaments and Shingo Kunieda battling his way in wheelchair tennis around the globe. Nishikori ranked fourth in the ITF ranking and Kunieda tops the world of wheelchair tennis.  

Shingo Kunieda downed Stéphane Houdet of France 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 to win the US Open men's wheelchair Tennis championship two years in a row. He had a hard time returning the opponent's serves in the first set and lost it but won the remaining two sets to reign the men's final match.

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Shingo Kunieda, 31, was paralyzed in the lower half of his body when he was 9 and started playing wheelchair tennis at 12. He has won 50 titles so far and his win-loss record is 318-49. He won the Australian Open 2007-2011, 2013-2015, the French Open 2007-2010, 2014, 2015 and the US Open 2007, 2009-2011, 2014, 2015. He currently ranks 1.

In the Paralympics, Kunieda won Gold Medal in men's doubles in 2004, also Gold Medal in men's singles and Bronze Medal in men's doubles in 2008, and again Gold Medal in men's singles in 2012.
The Rio Paralympic Games a year ahead, Kunieda hopes to keep up the momentum toward winning the gold medal in wheelchair tennis. Asked how he would be in the Tokyo Games in 2020, Kunieda said, "Well, I sure hope to be in the position to target a gold medal then".

In 2009, Kunieda turned pro for the first time as a Japanese player and in May that year signed a contract with SRI Sports (Dunlop) and later in August signed a two-year contract with UNIQLO.

In March 2010, he was the first Japanese wheelchair tennis player to be nominated the Sportsperson with a Disability of the Year of the Laureus World Sports Awards and attended the ceremony in Abu Dhabi.