Aiming For The Top!

Interviewed by Hiroki from You Yu Adelaide magazine, published in Vol. 55

To hear more about our students, check out the Stories & Photos on the South Australian Government Schools website.

Yūya is an international student studying Marryatville High School’s Special Interest Tennis Program. With victories including the ITF (International Tennis Federation) junior division already under his belt, he is building up a brilliant track record with both tennis and school studies, making the most of his high school life.

Destined to come to Adelaide

Yūya began playing tennis when he was 4 years old. He says that he was in Year 1 when he first dreamt of becoming a professional tennis player and the turning point came when he was in Year 3. His father is a university lecturer and this provided the opportunity for his family to live in Adelaide for 1 year. At that time he couldn’t speak any English but “because I was so young I quickly picked it up. That one year gave me the base for my English language ability,” he says, remembering the fun he had studying at a local primary school experiencing English and the foreign culture. It was then that Yūya had the encounter that would greatly influence his future; the Peter Smith Tennis Academy on Memorial Drive. Until coming to Adelaide he hadn’t heard of the academy, but it was there that he had chance meetings with Peter Smith, who trained Lleyton Hewitt, professional player Luke Smith, and Japanese staff member Atsushi Ogai who provides care at various levels, all helping to develop Yūya both technically and mentally. He also met one of his heroes, Novak Djokovic at the academy.

Tennis Program

After returning to Japan, Yūya continued to attend short tennis study programs once or twice a year at the academy to polish his technical skills. Then in September 2011, after completing Year 9 he finally got to come back to Adelaide with his mother to study at Marryatville High School. The school’s Special Interest Tennis Program is one of the curriculum subjects, and interschool competitions form part of the assessment. This program, however, does not only involve playing tennis and there isn’t a reduction in the amount of study required for regular subjects. Because of this, after school Yūya goes straight to Memorial Drive to immerse himself in practice before heading home to study hard.

Having a Goal

“Everyday is hard, but this is what I want to be doing so it isn’t tough. I want to enhance my tactical skills so that I can become a better player. I’m seeing the results of my efforts so I really enjoy it and find it rewarding”. Marryatville High School is well known across the country not only for representing South Australia and coming second at the Australian National High School Tennis Championships, but it is also renowned in the field of music. Yūya, who is fortunate to enjoy studying in such a wonderful environment, says, “More than anything it is important to firmly hold a goal. I also think being creative so that you don’t make the same mistakes, and staying positive are really important,” and he strongly holds these beliefs. Holding the clear goal to become a professional tennis player, the path his future takes is something to look forward to watching.

Yuya and his team mates

プロを目指して

Marryatville High SchoolのSpecial Interest Tennis Programに留学中の伊藤雄哉さん。ITF(国際テニス連盟)のジュニア部門で優勝を飾るなど、輝かしい実績を築いているテニスと学校の勉強を両立させた充実した高校生活を過ごしている。

アデレードとの運命的な出会い

伊藤さんがテニスを始めたのは4歳のとき。プロテニスプレーヤーになるという意識が芽生えたのは小学校1年生のころだったというが、転機が訪れたのは3年生のときだった。大学教授の父親の仕事の関係でアデレードで1年間生活することになったのだ。当時は英語がまったくできなかったが「小さい頃だったのですぐに吸収しました。あの1年は今の自分の英語力のベースになっています」と、現地の小学校に入って英語や異文化の体験を楽しめたという。そして伊藤さんの将来に大きな影響を与える出会いが、Memorial Driveのピーター・スミス・テニスアカデミーにあった。アデレードに来るまではその存在も知らなかったというが、レイトン・ヒューイットを育てたピータースミス氏、そして自らプロ選手として活躍したルーク・スミス氏、それに日本人スタッフとしてケアをしてくれる大谷敦氏とのそこでの偶然の出会いが、技術的にも精神的にも伊藤さんをさらに大きく成長させた。尊敬するプレーヤー、ノヴァーク・ジョコビッチと出会ったのもこの場所だった。

テニスプログラム

日本に帰国後も1年に1-2回はピーター・スミス・テニスアカデミーに短期間のテニス留学をして技術を磨き続けた伊藤さんは、日本の中学校を卒業後の2011年9月、満を持してMarryatville High Schoolへの留学のため母親とアデレードに戻ってきた。伊藤さんが学ぶMarryatville High SchoolのSpecial Interest Tennis Programではテニスが正規の履修科目の一つとなり、学校対抗戦などの対外試合も単位につながる。ただ、基本的には一般科目の量が大きく減るわけではないのでテニスだけできればよいというプログラムではない。そのため、学校終了後はMemorial Driveに直行してテニスの練習に没頭する伊藤さんも帰宅後は勉強にも余念がない。

目的を持つ

「毎日ハードですけど自分が望んでやっていることなので辛くはありません。テニスは戦術面を強化してもっと強くなりたいですけど、今は結果が出てきているので楽しくてやりがいもあります」。南オーストラリア州の代表としてハイスクール全豪大会で準優勝する他、音楽の分野でも全国的に知られるMarryatville High School。そんな素晴らしい環境に恵まれた留学生活を送る伊藤さんだが、「何事も目的をしっかり持つこと。そして同じ失敗を繰り返さないクリエイティブな発想とポジティブな姿勢が大事だと思います」とその信念は強い。プロのテニスプレーヤーになるという明確な目的を持つ伊藤さんのこれからの活躍が楽しみだ。

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