Melbourne, Australia, 10 November 2023 | Rhys de Deugd

Koharu Nishikawa is a young Aussie on the rise.

The 14-year-old from Melbourne aspires to one day be just like her hero Ash Barty, and has made a name for herself in tournaments around the world in 2023.

Currently playing for Australia at the Junior Billie Jean King Cup finals in Spain, she also represented her country earlier this year as part of the Australian 14-and-under girls’ team that finished sixth at the 2023 ITF World Junior Tennis Finals in the Czech Republic.

In our series profiling Australia’s most promising junior players, Nishikawa reflects on her favourite tennis experiences so far…

Tell us about your start in tennis?

I started playing tennis when I was four or five years old, and I started playing because my brothers played and yeah, really enjoy it.

What do you enjoy most about tennis?

I love competing and I love competing on a daily basis, and that feeling of chasing something and trying to win.

Do you still play with your brothers?

Yeah, I can actually beat them now. So that’s an improvement. One of my brothers, he actually laid down on the chair and we thought he was half-crying. Proudest moment of my life.

What have been your tennis highlights?

I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot this year and representing Australia in the Czech finals in World Juniors. That was probably the highlight for me.

What did you learn from your time in Europe?

A few specific things on and off the court, especially off the court. Meeting new people and different cultures and learning about different countries and being exposed to them is something I learned a lot from.

CORDOBA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 07: Koharu Nishikawa (AUS) Emerson Jones (AUS) 2023 Billie Jean King Cup By Gainbridge Juniors Finals at Real Aero Club de Cordoba on November 07, 2023 in Cordoba, Spain (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos//Quality Sport Images/ITF)

Koharu Nishikawa at the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Juniors Finals in Cordoba, Spain (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos//Quality Sport Images/ITF)

What are your long-term goals in tennis?

I would love to play Grand Slams and be on the tour. Hopefully win the Australian Open because I’m from Melbourne, that’ll be awesome.

What is your biggest inspiration?

I’m inspired by Ash Barty. She’s retired, but she was my role model. I love her variety on court, but also the way she handles everything off the court. My coaches, my parents and my family also inspire me to work harder.

Do you model your game style like anyone in particular?

Yeah, speaking of Ash, I have really modelled my game around her. Her slices and her variety in her game.

If you could steal a stroke from any player, what would it be?

Ash’s slice! I would love that, that would be amazing.

What has been your most memorable experience as a tennis fan?

Watching Roger Federer win his 2017 Australian Open against Rafael Nadal. The five-setter, I was watching it on the TV.

Being from Melbourne, is it a goal to play at the Australian Open one day?

It’s like a real goal for me. I mean, I’ve been watching the Aussie Open as long as I can remember, so the next step for me is probably play a junior Grand Slam.

What is your earliest memory of the Australian Open?

I remember going when I must have been like five years old, and it was like 40 degrees. It was so hot. I just remember sitting on a show court watching.

What do you like to do outside of tennis?

I love hanging out with my friends, just chilling with my family and going for walks. Just the simple things.

How would your family and friends describe you?

I hope they describe me as an easy going friend and I’m determined in what I’m doing. I hope they think I’m kind also.


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