Taro Daniel and the Big Red Tablecloth
Steen Kirby is an excellent interviewer and a budding cinematographer. I’m going to break down and buy him a tripod. Here’s his interview from Tallahassee with Taro Daniel.
Last week you qualified in Savannah and won a couple of rounds. Talk about your play there.
Passing the qualies helped me a lot for playing better in the main draw, gave me some confidence, more groove. That definitely helped me play looser and play at a higher level.
We had a reader ask if you were going to continue to play for Japan even though you have dual citizenship.
I think I’ll keep playing for Japan. I think that I am more Japanese than American and think there will be some great benefits if I can become a great tennis player there.
Do you have a good relationship with Ito and Soeda and the other Japanese players? And what do you think of the state of Japanese tennis?
My relationship with them, I don’t really know them really close. I saw them for the first time and said hi to them the last time I was there. They were all really nice guys. I feel like tennis there is really good compared to the past and I hope tennis in Japan just keeps getting better and better.
You recently reached a career high ranking of 248. What are your short-term goals?
I don’t check all the numbers and results. It puts my head where it’s not supposed to be. Just keep playing at a higher level and improve as much as possible.
What about the financial difficulties on the Challenger level?
Some more open financial help of players would be more appreciated. It’s a real expensive sport, even though there’s prize money. Unless the Federation is covering your expenses, it’s really tough to keep it up. I don’t have any specific suggestions, but some help would be great.
You trained in Spain. Is clay your favorite surface?
I am definitely comfortable on clay. I’m a little more comfortable on clay. When I’m feeling great with my tennis, I prefer hardcourt. I like them both, but I think liking clay makes me like anything.
Describe your training regimen in Spain.
It’s really simple. There not much secrets to how we play. You have to be solid and you have to construct points. It’s not very technical or super-detailed. I think growing up on clay and hard courts helped with the general construct of the game.