Rinky Hijikata: Aussies Are ‘Manufactured’ To Play Properly On Grass | ATP Tour


In his first tour-level grass match, Australian Rinky Hijikata is making a splash this week on the Libema Open. The 22-year-old superior to his maiden tour-level semi-final Friday after defeating Mackenzie McDonald 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Hijikata, who acquired a fortunate loser spot into the principle draw, has rallied from a set down in every of his three matches this week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch to achieve the final 4. Regardless of the dearth of professional expertise on grass, Hijikata has fond reminiscences taking part in on the floor.

“We used to have a 12s Nationals yearly in Australia, it was in Mildura. That was really the primary nationwide title I gained,” Hijikata informed ATPTour.com final week on the Surbiton Challenger. “It was the beneath 12s and it was on grass. I’ve some good reminiscences taking part in on this floor.

“I’m fairly comfy on the grass. I believe it’s my favorite floor, perhaps both this or arduous court docket. I actually love taking part in on it and I believe being Australian, we’re fairly used to taking part in on the grass and all our video games normally go well with it fairly properly. I believe lots of Aussies are manufactured in a method the place their recreation form of fits grass.”

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A two-time ATP Challenger Tour champion, Hijikata’s subsequent opponent might be a well-recognized foe, countryman Jordan Thompson, who defeated him final week on the grass-court Surbiton Challenger. The 29-year-old Thompson might be aiming for a second look within the ‘s-Hertogenbosch title match (additionally 2019).

Hijikata has discovered early success since turning professional in 2021. A former standout on the College of North Carolina, he partnered countryman Jason Kubler to win the doubles title at their house Slam in January.

Hijikata then went from Melbourne to Burnie, Australia, the place he went on a title run with out dropping a set on the Challenger 75 occasion, the Caterpillar Burnie Worldwide.

All through his younger profession, Hijikata has soaked in classes realized whereas being on the street.

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“The most important problem might be simply getting used to all of the journey, taking part in week in and week out,” Hijikata mentioned. “When you find yourself a junior or in faculty, you form of have blocks the place you play loads however then you’ve a good bit of time without work, it’s not this form of steady grind and I believe that’s one factor to get used to.

“Additionally, simply having the idea that you simply belong at a sure stage. Whenever you get to the Slams and the large Tour occasions, it may be slightly bit daunting at first. Simply constructing that self esteem and I really feel like now I’m the place I belong and never misplaced.”

Ought to Hijikata defeat Thompson within the final 4 and attain the Libema Open last, the World No. 114 within the Pepperstone ATP Dwell Rankings will strategy considered one of his objectives for 2023.

“I’d like to crack the High 100, I really feel like I’ve the extent to do this and it’s only a matter of time,” Hijikata mentioned. “I’ll simply hold doing what I can and attempting to enhance and hopefully I can try this after which construct additional.”


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