Japan’s Shintaro Mochizuki made a name for himself in Cayman before starring on the world stage.
Mochizuki, the 2017 Cayman Cup champion, won the Wimbledon boys’ championship on Sunday and is now the International Tennis Foundation’s No. 1 ranked junior player in the world.
The 16‑year-old beat Spain’s Gimeno Valero by a 6‑3, 6‑2 score in the Wimbledon finals, and won 17 of his 23 points at the net to become the first Japanese player to win a boys’ Grand Slam title. Mochizuki is coached by Natsuo Yamanaka of IMG Academy, and he’s posted a 38‑10 singles record this year and a 93‑39 singles record overall.
Mochizuki was ranked No. 122 by the ITF at the end of 2018. He won a junior tournament in Costa Rica and was a finalist in Peru this year, and made it to the semi-finals of the boys’ French Open. Before winning Wimbledon, he won the Junior International Nottingham tournament in England.
Mochizuki, who began playing tennis at age 3, beat USA’s Keshav Chopra in a three-set thriller in the 2017 Cayman Cup finals. He also competed in Cayman in 2016, but lost in the Round of 16.
Mochizuki is just the second Japanese player to win a Grand Slam junior championship, echoing the achievements of Kazuko Sawamatsu, who won the Wimbledon and French Open girls’ championships in 1969. Sawamatsu later turned professional and went to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 1973, and she was part of a Wimbledon championship doubles team in 1975.