Updated: Sep 8, 2020
The Tennis Fiji’s Japan Tour started on the 19th of August 2018 and finished on the 28th of August 2018. This was the first Japan Tour for Tennis Fiji since we started our first Fiji and Japan Junior Tennis Exchange Program. The team included four junior players and a coach.
The players competed in the under 12s tournament in Chibashi, Chiba, Japan. The level of the tournament was high but this was just in one part of Japan which is Chiba City. The tournament was held in the countryside and most of the players were from nearby suburbs and towns. The Fiji team players first went through warm-up and training sessions together with the Japanese players. They learned how to be a professional athlete and how professional tennis players train. The training sessions were tough and they spent the whole day at the tennis court as they had their lunch at the courts. This program which was specially set up for the Fiji players helped the players learn about the good habits that the professional Tennis players follow and the commitment and discipline that are needed to be a professional tennis player.
There were two practice tournaments organized after the two training sessions and the players participated in these two competitions. In these two tournaments, they were assessed on their habits and routines on and off the court as well as their constant improvement on match play. This was a very important part as this changed the player’s attitude towards their game and set their minds to their long-term individual, and team goals which they had written before their first training session in Japan. After every training and competition day, the players were given homework where they had to record their individual results and assessments, answering questions which were prepared by (Japanese Coach) Koji Noguchi, Tennis Fiji's exchange program partner. He spent most of his time helping the Fiji players on the court and organizing our daily schedule.
As the players came through the practice tournaments and training the final tournament was set up according to the results in the two practice tournaments. The girls played their matches on Saturday and the boys played on Sunday. Josephine and Charlotte made it to the semifinals after 2 rounds but it was tough to get to the finals. They played for the third place where Charlotte defeated Josephine and got the third spot. Yash and Samuel had tough first rounds which got them into consolation matches and they were able to win a few matches which improved their game. After a few days of playing competitions in Japan and training with some good level of Japanese Juniors the players improved Tactically, Technically, Physically and mentally.
Billeting, Cultural Experience and Language
The players were accommodated by the billeting tennis families in Chiba. The families were very welcoming towards the players and the players enjoyed their stay with the Japanese families for the first time. They were worried about the language and culture at first and soon got used to the culture in Japan. The families and the coach could speak good English and it was not too hard to communicate with them. The players were taken for shopping and dinner in Japanese Restaurants and they had a lot of different Japanese dishes. It was summer in Japan and they have fireworks at night in a park which is played once in very season to mark the season. Our players had a long walk in the park until we were finally right at the top where we could view the city and see the fireworks.
This was very easy because the Coach Koji and sometimes the billets were picking up and dropping the kids to and from the tennis courts every day.