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Rika Hiraki

tennis player
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Bio She was born in Beirut (Lebanon) due to his father's work at Japan Airlines.
She started playing tennis at age of 6. She graduated from Aoyama Gakuin University, majoring in International Politics and Economics.
She made his tour debut in September 1987 as a freshman in high school and turned professional in September 1991 as a sophomore in college.
She has been active as a tennis player both in Japan and overseas since his junior days. In the national junior high school tournament, she made it to the finals three years in a row in singles and won the championship in her first and third years. At the Kanto Open (general), which she participated in in her third year of junior high school, she became the youngest singles champion and doubles runner-up. At the Japan Open Junior, she won singles (1988, 1989) and doubles runner-up (1989) for two years in a row, and became the first Japanese player to win the singles and doubles at Super Junior.
As a college student, at the Universiade she won 2 gold (1993 Buffalo in mixed doubles (first Japanese player in history), in 1995 in Fukuoka in women's doubles (first Japanese player in history), 5 silver (in 1991 in Sheffield tournament: in women's singles, women's doubles, mixed doubles, in 1993 in Buffalo in women's doubles, in 1995 Fukuoka in women's singles), winning a total of 7 medals is a world record.
At the All Japan Championships, she won the women's doubles for four consecutive years (1990-1993), and has won a total of five times, including 2000. At the Christmas Open held in Kobe at the end of the year, she reached the singles final four years in a row, and she won the championship three years in a row (1990-1992).
Hiraki has never won a singles title on the WTA Tour, but has been a master doubles player for many years. She is also in the same generation as Kimiko Date , Ai Endo, Yone Kamio, Naoko Sawamatsu and other famous players who colored the golden age of Japanese women's tennis. At the 1997 French Open in mixed doubles, Hiraki teamed up with India's Mahesh Bhupathi to defeat Patrick Galbraith and Lisa Raymond (both Americans) in the final 6-4, 6-1. Bhupathi is a player with a height of 185 cm, and his combination with Hiraki, who is 157 cm tall, has been described as a “concave and convex pair”. They became the first Asian mixed doubles to win a Grand Slam and Rika Hiraki became the first Japanese player to win the French Open.

In the previous month, in May 1997, in the doubles first round of the German Open held in Berlin, Germany, Hiraki teamed with Florencia Labat (Argentina) against Steffi Graf and Ines Gorrochategui (Argentina) and they had won.

Hiraki has relatively few good results in the singles of the four major tournaments but she has advanced to the third round in Wimbledon in 1992 and the Australian Open for three consecutive years from 1996 to 1998. She won three qualifying matches at Wimbledon in 1992, and she entered Center Court in the third round to challenge No.3 seed Gabriela Sabatini. At the Australian Open, she advanced to the third round for three consecutive years, but especially in the 1997 tournament, where the Japanese women's tennis world immediately began to decline after Kimiko Date's first retirement, Hiraki alone advanced to the third round. It was the highest result for a female athlete.
Hiraki's last match was at the Columbus, Ohio, USA tournament in February 2003. Currently, while working at a company, she is engaged in promotional activities such as tennis events in various parts of Japan.

While active as a player, Hiraki was the first Asian to be elected to the WTA Tour Athlete Board (1996-1998), WTA Tour Athlete Commission (1996-2003), WTA Tour Doping Commission (1990-2003). She has won many sports awards, including the Japan Professional Sports Grand Prize Special Encouragement Award (1997), the 1997 Japan Sports Award for Outstanding Athlete, the 1997 UNESCO Japan Fair Play Award, and the WTA Award "Sportsmanship Award" nomination (1997-1998), USTA (United States Tennis Association) Sportsmanship Award (2000), Japan Tennis Association Special Honor Award (1998), Honory Award (2003).

In June 2014, she assumed the post of Managing Director of the Japan Tennis Association. As of 2021, she lives in Shiroi City , Chiba Prefecture, and works at NTT Communications as a manager in charge of the Corporate Planning Department Public Relations Office.

She works as a Systems Manager for telephone company NTT, completing all her work from the road via computer modem while at tournaments.

She is baseliner, who considered groundstrokes her strength.

In 1997, she won Roland-Garros in mixed doubles (with Mahesh Bhupathi), becoming the second Japanese who won a mixed doubles title in a Grand Slam event - after Ryuki Miki in 1934 at Wimbledon and the first in the Open-era who won in mixed doubles.

Over the course of her career, she has won six WTA doubles ladies tournaments, mostly secondary events in Asia, all with different partners.
In the Fed Cup she played a total of 5 games, getting 3 wins and 2 defeats.
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