• Members:
    Users online:



Day 1 in Tokyo

02.10.2006 | Off Court




It's very exciting to be here in Tokyo and I'm also very pleased to be writing the ATPtennis.com blog this week. I've read a few blogs during the year. I really enjoy them as they shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes on the ATP circuit and it’s a great way to communicate with the fans.


I've had an unbelievable time since arriving in Japan on Friday. I had one of my first practices on one of the outside courts of the Ariake Tennis Forest Park and many, many fans watched me. That was very special for me. They all had their cameras and their phones up in the air taking photos. It was like a sight I'd never seen before. People were running behind me on the way to practice, wanting photos, autographs, my rackets and even my clothes. I thought for a second that maybe I should practice naked. It was a great atmosphere and for the first time I felt what it must be like to be a rock star. I practiced with the No. 1 Japanese player Go Soeda, who is very nice and a very talented player.


Two months ago the tournament asked me if I would practice at 10AM on Centre Court on the first day of the tournament and I did not understand why but I decided it would be ok. Now I understand why. The tournament had promoted it as my first official practice in Japan and opened it to the public. It was great to see so many fans out there for an early morning practice.


On Saturday I had an incredible experience meeting with the Crown Prince of Japan, Prince Naruhito at one of the Imperial Palaces. I had been waiting for the moment for a long time and it was something that needed to be planned well in advance because of the protocol. We went to one of his guest palaces. He had two clay courts back there. I warmed up with him and I was surprised how well he played. Then I played with another junior as he took a rest and then I asked the Prince if he'd like to play some doubles. He was excited about that and we played a set together, which was a lot of fun and we won! I must admit that the Prince hit some fantastic winners and was a great partner.


Princess Masako and their beautiful daughter Aiko were also there and spent some time with my girlfriend Mirka and my agent Tony. After tennis we had a wonderful lunch and talked for over an hour at his tennis villa. Then we went for a walk around their picture-perfect gardens - in particular I remember they have a beautiful lake and trees - and had lunch at the court. It is one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen and to think that it is in the centre of Tokyo is quite amazing. It was a very enjoyable moment. You don't get to play tennis with royalty every day and I will never forget this experience.


It's very exciting to be here in Japan. It's been a while since I've been to a city or a country for the first time. I'm still feeling my way around, but the people are so polite and respectful here and I'm really happy I've made the trip. Mirka has played here five or six times so I knew what to expect but it’s been more enjoyable than I thought. I love travelling in Asia. I have been to Bangkok, Shanghai, Dubai, Doha, and I always wanted to come to Japan. It's a very interesting country with fascinating history and culture. It's very different from home and I wanted to see it.



The traffic hasn't been as bad as I had expected and Tokyo is a very clean city where the pace of life is not as hectic as I imagined. I was expecting Tokyo to be like New York or Rome. This is such a big city with 8 1/2 million people in the centre and 12 1/2 million in total that you'd think there would be people everywhere, but it seems very relaxed.


I love Japanese food a lot and I eat it anywhere I go as it seems to be the 'in' food. It's healthy food with a lot of rice and vegetables. Over the last few years I started to eat fish and meat, so I can enjoy sushi and sashimi as well. Saturday night I had dinner with Mr Morita, the chairman of the Japanese Tennis Association. We had shabu-shabu - it's like a broth where you put the meat in and it’s very much like the Swiss dish ‘Fondue Chinoise’.


The other night I played a joke on Mirka and put a lot of wasabi (the very strong green paste) underneath a piece of her sashimi…she still has fire coming out of her nose and has promised to get me back!


For breakfast I was introduced to the Japanese custom of drinking vinegar, which is supposed to clean your system. I quite enjoyed that.


I’m off to do my pre-tournament press conference now.


Sayonara and write to you tomorrow!



Insert comment
Only registered users can insert comments. Please log in or create a new account.
Page 1 | 12
06/03/2013 | 05:12 PM
"I thought for a second that maybe I should practice naked."
Oh yessss please, Roger! I would take the closest seat I could and take 1000 photos a minute! Yummy yummy!
10/04/2006 | 07:47 AM
wow nice to hear from u roger! and ur blogs are really interesting. it's very nice to hear that u r enjoying ur stay there at japan.

sushi has always been so yummy! and u're too bad! [haha!] why put a lot of wasabi on mirka's sashimi? :D her nose is go
10/03/2006 | 08:26 PM
Hi Roger,

Love your Japan experience. Glad you are still there and will play in a championship. I know you will win, because utimately, you are superior.

I like shabu-shabu too. Watch out for that rice vino. Yikes!

10/03/2006 | 05:16 PM
Hey,your tour sounds greattttt!!
Come on, Roger, you are so lovely, why played that joke on Mirka?too much wasabi really tastes bad....heyhey~
okay, enjoy your tour.
10/03/2006 | 03:39 PM
Konnichiwa Roger! Nippon he youkoso!!

I'm really glad you're enjoying Japan and I'm so surprised you liked the atmosphere of Japanese fans, because we are quite different from other country's fans. You will soon know that the Japanese fans are very qu
10/03/2006 | 03:29 PM
OMG You're blogging and I'm so so verry happy bcos I get to "see" what you do every day. Even then I realise you dont do what every other tennis players do in a normal tournament. Playing with the royalty, man!! and having lunch wt the Princess and the
10/03/2006 | 02:58 PM
Hello Roger
It's great to finally see you blogg! Thanks for the opportunity to get to know you on some level :)
Viil Glück Roger National!
Na es paar titel denn dä masters cup und denn häsch ferie verdient :)
10/03/2006 | 02:37 PM
it's mean to put a lot of wasabi at Mirka's food. But you probably cleaned her nose. I made a mistake when I was about 10 years old and believe me, it's not a joke!!!

Have fun in Japan and hopefully you'll win every game in Tokyo.

10/03/2006 | 02:33 PM
That's great to hear from you,Roger!
I love your BLOG...it has so much fun!
I am in Beijing and China is quite near to Japan...how much I wish I could be there.
Hope you enjoy your tournament in Japan.
I am looking forward to meeting you in
10/03/2006 | 01:57 PM
Kon-banwa Roger,

I am glad to hear you are having good time in Japan.
I have read some blogs of your fans in Japan.
They are sooooooo excited to see you play.
They had waited for long long time.

I wish you have more fun in Japan!

Page 1 | 12