The winner of the 2016 Otago Indoor Open, Bianka Shibuya. A hard fought final against Charlotte Booth, but Bianka held her nerve to take it out 6-4 6-1. We interviewed her:
Where are you from Bianka?
I was born in Irate but I live in Tokyo.
Have you played in many Open tournaments before?
I play for my school tennis team and we play in competitions between schools but I haven’t really played in individual tournaments.
What was going through your mind this morning before you went onto the court?
[Laughs] Ah, I was nervous. Excited. [Laughs again]
Have you won any titles before?
As a school team yes, but not individually. Our Junior High School won a regional summer tournament.
Did you talk to your parents last night?
Yeah I did!
What did they say?
My parents – especially my dad – kept telling me “you are gonna win this!”. But I was like “she [Charlotte] is so good!”
Did YOU believe you could win when you stepped onto the court this morning?
Should I say this? [Laughs]
Yeah you can be honest! Did you THINK you could win?
Yeah I did. But I heard Charlotte’s score against Eliza [Booth] and I thought “oh my God”.
What was going through your mind in the first set?
I tried to be aggressive. I felt that I needed to play like the number 1 in the world or something like that. I thought that Charlotte was like a super great tennis player so I thought I needed to play like that.
How well did you play in the first set?
Pretty well, but I felt I could have done a little better.
You held a slight lead all the way through the first set – what was going through your mind at 5-4?
I said to myself “c’mon Bianka you need to do this!” We had some long deuce games there about 10 times and I was like “c’mon Bianka just do it!”.
What was going through your mind after you took the first set?
I’m winning so I just need to keep doing it again. Since I had one set, I was more aggressive. I’m like “if you get another set it’s done” [laughs]. In the second set I just started to try and move her around more.
Well it paid off Bianka – Congratulations on being probably the first Japanese winner of an Otago Open grade title.