Junior Masaru Fujimaki has played for Men’s Tennis all of his three years at UR. He is a team captain and usually plays in the number-one spot in both singles and doubles competition. Last year, he reached the third round of the ITA Northeast Regional Singles Championship. This year, he currently has a 7–8 record in singles play.
How did you get interested in tennis?
I started playing tennis because of my brother. He didn’t want to play alone so he asked me to join, and then the coach told my parents that I am talented in tennis — that’s why I started practicing seriously.
What has been the most difficult thing aspect of playing tennis in college?
The most difficult thing about college tennis is that tennis became a team sport instead of an individual sport. It is very interesting, but this is my first time in 14 years of playing tennis that I actually need to win a tennis match as a team, not as an individual player.
How have you grown as an athlete over the course of your collegiate career?
Over the course of my collegiate career, I really felt like I have improved as a tennis player. I came as a freshman and played the top spots, which gave me great opportunities to compete with other top players in the nation. Coaching and my teammates gave me support both on and off the courts and helped me technically and mentally. The biggest moment so far in my career happened when [my] coach chose me as a captain last fall. Being a captain really changed my mindset as a player and increased my responsibility as well. I became more disciplined as a player and also focused on improving the team as a whole and for the future tennis program for UR.
What is the dynamic between you and your teammates?
It is very interesting since every year some players graduate and also few players join the team. And our team is very international, with players from China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Norway, India, and Japan (myself). I really enjoy being on this team and spending time with them anywhere. We support each other during matches and also in classes. It is a great team, and we all like each other.
Who has had the greatest impact on your playing career, and why?
Definitely my parents. They are the ones that let me play this sport and supported me for my 14-year career. They traveled anywhere for my junior tournaments to support me. Without them, I couldn’t make it this far in this sport, and every accomplishment belongs to them as well. My friends in professional tours also gave me motivation, and they gave me advice about tennis. My coach is very helpful and very positive about me accomplishing achievements in collegiate tennis.
Who is your favorite professional athlete, and why?
My favorite professional athlete is Roger Federer. To me, he is flawless, and he is a legend in this sport. I actually don’t know how can I describe him better than just saying that he is the best tennis player in this world and no one can reach his level again.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
I really like eating chocolates, but I couldn’t eat them that much during season so I would like to have unlimited supply of various chocolates. I will eat them after I retire tennis!