Fujimori, Miyagawa named to USTA
Junior Leadership Team
May 18, 2018
Taryn Fujimori and Reyn Miyagawa have been named to the third annual USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes America’s finest junior tennis players who exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and character on and off the court.
Fujimori, a resident of Mililani, Hawaii, and Miyagawa, of Kaneohe, Hawaii, are among more than 30 players nationwide named to the USTA Junior Leadership Team. Each player was nominated by his or her USTA section for their excellence in tennis and in the community.
“These players are our future leaders, and the values they’ve shown to embody both on the court and in the community are evidence that our future will be in good hands,” said Lew Brewer, the USTA’s Director of Junior Competition. ADVERTISEMENT “They are the perfect role models that represent our nationwide Net Generation efforts, and they truly deserve to be recognized with the USTA Junior Leadership Team.”
Fujimori, 18, has been ranked as high as No. 6 in the Girls’ 18s standings in the USTA Hawaii-Pacific section, and won the 2017 OIA girls’ doubles championship. In addition to volunteering at USTA tournaments, she’s also served with the USTA Mentorship Program.
Miyagawa, 17, has been ranked among the Top 300 18-and-under boys in the USTA’s national standings, as well as No. 6 in the Hawaii Pacific section. He’s the captain of the Mid-Pacific High School varsity tennis team and was an ILH First-Team selection as a sophomore and junior, in addition to winning the state doubles championship as a sophomore. He’s been the recipient of the 'Play with Aloha’ and 2017 President’s Day DT sportsmanship awards, all while volunteering for a number of USTA events, participating in the USTA Hawaii Junior Mentorship program and receiving a Gold Key for his photography through the Hawaii Scholastic Art Awards, among other activities.
Each year, more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want – high school, college or pros – or just have fun competing.
In their own words...
Taryn Fujimori: Tennis has been such a big part of my life. It is the sport that I enjoy playing, and it has taught me a lot about competing. Tennis has taught me that competing is fun, but it is also important to play by the rules. It has taught me about mental toughness, because when you are in a competitive situation it is important to stay focused and to never give up.
Sportsmanship matters because it keeps the game fun. It shows that a person can compete, but in a respectful way. Good sportsmanship shows that a person can handle losing. It is also important to be humble at all times. The way a person carries themselves on the court shows their character. Sportsmanship is much more important than the outcome of the match.
In this one match I played, I won the first set, 6-0, but then I lost the second set, 3-6. We then played a 10-point tiebreaker, and I won. This match taught me a lot about myself because it showed that I had the mental toughness to win. My opponent and I both had good sportsmanship, so it made the match fun. Tennis has taught me that if I set a goal for myself, I work hard to reach it. It has taught me that hard work is important.
Reyn Miyagawa: I have been a tennis player all my life, but somehow or another, at age 15, my game was falling apart. You'd think that after more than 10 years in the sport, five years of competitive play, and numerous hours of practicing, it would be enough to hone my skills and solidify technique, but that was not enough.
Forehands were my favorite shot and serving was a strength, but then it all disappeared. During the year of 2015, I grew over four inches and stood at 5 feet, 7 inches. I thought being taller would help, but it just threw off my coordination. The ball jammed my body, as I overran it with my new, longer arms and legs. When serving, I looked like a statue; I was so stiff. I felt awful, experiencing timing issues when my eyes saw the ball much farther than it actually was. Devastation struck me when I saw my rankings drop–it went from Top 5 in the Hawaii-Pacific 14-and-under division, to outside the Top 30 in the 16-and-under division. I still had some skill. I mean, I could beat the people ranked lower than me, but I no longer looked like a top prospect for high school and potentially college tennis.
In 2015, my freshman year goal was to qualify for the high school state tennis tournament. This goal seemed attainable, despite the issues I was having with my coordination. The qualifying tournament took place at Central Oahu Regional Park, where 20 tennis courts stretched across the complex. I ran, swung and played my heart out alongside my doubles partner in the first round. Both of us wore a green and white uniform, representing our school, Mid-Pacific.
The first round doubles match went to a third-set deciding tiebreaker. Down match point, at 11-12, I stepped up to the line to serve. I bounced the ball three times, tossed it up and hit my serve. The first serve went in, then my opponent returned it back cross court. During this very moment, I was standing at the net, as I hit my first volley. I put the volley right into the middle of the net. Then an awful feeling struck me: I just lost the whole match on that one terrible volley. Not only had I failed to accomplish my goal, but I let my partner down and even worse, our team.
My eyes watered when I walked off the court. My mother and grandmother came to my comfort, saying, “It's okay.” Our coaches came to me and said the same, but I ignored it and walked off. It was not okay – I just let my team and myself down. The car ride home was silent. I said nothing and tortured myself, thinking about where our team would be if I had not missed that volley.
Just a few days later, my partner and I got together to practice with the other teammates, who had qualified for the state tournament. When I stepped onto the green Mid-Pacific courts, I noticed that no one had been mad at me, to my surprise. I lost us that match. We could have been qualified for the state tournament had I not missed that volley. It was not until my partner and I started a set that I understood why no one was mad. Yes, it feels good to accomplish goals, but I did not start tennis to win, play in prestigious tournaments, or get a ranking; I started tennis purely because it was something I loved doing. We did not need to qualify for the state tournament, or raise a high school state championship trophy to have fun playing tennis, but I guess I needed to lose to remember that. It was through a loss, where I truly won.