Japan’s tennis stars feel pain of World Cup exit

LONDON: Japan’s Taro Daniel fears the wrath of his compatriots after missing the national side’s dramatic exit from the football World Cup because he couldn’t find the right channel on his hotel TV.

Daniel wanted to watch Monday’s roller-coaster match when Japan blew a 2-0 lead against Belgium in the round of 16 in Russia, losing 3-2 with Nacer Chadli scoring a heartbreaking winner in the fourth minute of injury time.

However, Daniel missed the thriller as finding the right channel on the remote control proved elusive.

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“I’m not a huge football fan but I was following the score,” he told AFP. “I couldn’t find the channel on my room TV, so I was just watching some movies. Probably Japanese people would kill me if I say that! Disappointing, I guess. If I would have found it on TV I would have watched it. But, I mean, not super concentrated, either, because I was by myself.”

Daniel said the Japanese players try to stick together at Wimbledon, with parties and games on the agenda.

“We always have this… party the Saturday before the tournament starts, and we have dinner all together and play games, card games and whatever. It’s always fun,” he said.

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The Japanese tennis contingent tried to salvage some national sporting pride at Wimbledon on Tuesday after the football heartbreak.

Kei Nishikori led the way, beating his good friend Christian Harrison in four sets to kick off his campaign at the All England Club.

Naomi Osaka, seeded 18th, beat Romania’s Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-1. Osaka went about after the match in a Japan football shirt.

“It was really sad. I was motivated by that. I didn’t want to lose after they lost,” she said of Japan’s defeat to Belgium.

Daniel lost 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to Italian 19th seed Fabio Fognini. And Kurumi Nara lost 6-2, 6-4 to world number one Simona Halep on Centre Court.

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1749599/7-japans-tennis-stars-feel-pain-world-cup-exit/