NSW player Rinky Hijikata would usually be on the college tennis circuit in America this time of year. Rinky has returned home, and while things have been a little different, he is determined to stay motivated.
What has been keeping you active and motivated off court?
“I’ve been trying to keep as busy as possible off court, obviously it can get a little boring with the lockdown laws. Although I haven’t been hitting too many tennis balls, I’ve been making sure that I’m staying fit and trying to get as physically strong as possible during this extended break. Besides that, I’ve had a bit of uni work keeping me occupied throughout the day. And more importantly, I’m trying to learn how to play golf, and I’ve got a lot of work to do there”.
How has your training schedule changed over the last few months?
“I took a bit of a break at the beginning of the whole COVID-19 situation. I obviously had to do the two weeks self-isolation once I got back from the US, so I probably didn’t pick up a racquet for about a month. I was doing some workouts in my home by myself and trying to stay active somehow. Since the restrictions have loosened up, I’ve been back hitting 3-4 times a week”.
What are some of the things you are most looking forward to when tournaments and travel resume?
“I’ve really missed being able to compete in matches and at tournaments. I think that’s the most fun part of being a tennis player and it’s hard to replicate that feeling you get while playing in a big match or in front of a big crowd. I’m also really excited to go back to college at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill once the travel restrictions are dropped. I had to leave on pretty short notice, so it’ll be great when I can go back and catch up with my team and my friends”.
What’s a good tip you have for a younger aspiring tennis player?
“I think the biggest thing in tennis is to just enjoy it as much as possible. It’s easy to take it for granted when you’re able to play such a great sport day in and day out and it’s tough when a situation like this takes it away from you. I also think that you will improve a lot quicker if you are really invested in what you’re doing and enjoy the process”.