The Most Famous

TENNIS PLAYERS from Japan

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This page contains a list of the greatest Japanese Tennis Players. The pantheon dataset contains 1,148 Tennis Players, 20 of which were born in Japan. This makes Japan the birth place of the 17th most number of Tennis Players behind Slovakia and Romania.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Japanese Tennis Players of all time. This list of famous Japanese Tennis Players is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Japanese Tennis Players.

Photo of Ichiya Kumagae

1. Ichiya Kumagae (1890 - 1968)

With an HPI of 57.61, Ichiya Kumagae is the most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 21 different languages on wikipedia.

Ichiya "Ichy" Kumagae (熊谷 一弥, Kumagai Ichiya, 10 September 1890 – 16 August 1968) was a Japanese tennis player and the first Japanese Olympic medalist.

Photo of Seiichiro Kashio

2. Seiichiro Kashio (1892 - 1962)

With an HPI of 55.31, Seiichiro Kashio is the 2nd most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Seiichiro Kashio (柏尾 誠一郎, Kashio Seiichirō, January 2, 1892 – September 6, 1962) was a male tennis player from Japan, and with Ichiya Kumagae was one of the first Japanese Olympic medalists. He won the Canadian Open by defeating United States player Walter K. Wesbrook 3–6, 6–3, 6–1, 11–9.

Photo of Kei Nishikori

3. Kei Nishikori (1989 - )

With an HPI of 55.30, Kei Nishikori is the 3rd most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.

Kei Nishikori (錦織 圭, Nishikori Kei, [ɲiɕikoꜜɾi kei]; born 29 December 1989) is a Japanese professional tennis player. He is the only male Japanese tennis player in history to be ranked inside the top 5 in singles, and first reached his career-high singles ranking of world No. 4 in March 2015. He is currently ranked world No. 42 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).Nishikori has won 12 singles titles and was runner-up at the 2014 US Open, making him the first male player representing an Asian country to reach a Grand Slam singles final. He also became the first man from Asia to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals and reached the semifinals in 2014 and 2016. In addition, Nishikori defeated Rafael Nadal to win the bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, bringing Japan its first Olympic tennis medal in 96 years.

Photo of Kimiko Date

4. Kimiko Date (1970 - )

With an HPI of 54.13, Kimiko Date is the 4th most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Kimiko Date (伊達 公子, Date Kimiko, born 28 September 1970) is a Japanese former professional tennis player. She reached the semifinals of the 1994 Australian Open, the 1995 French Open and the 1996 Wimbledon Championships, and won the Japan Open a record four times. She reached a career-high ranking of world No. 4 in 1995, and retired from professional tennis in November 1996. She returned to tennis nearly 12 years later, announcing an unexpected comeback in April 2008. She then won her eighth WTA title at the 2009 Korea Open, becoming the second-oldest player in the Open Era, after Billie Jean King, to win a singles title on the WTA Tour. In 2013, she won three WTA-tour titles in doubles and at the 2014 US Open, aged 43, she reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam doubles tournament for the first time in her career. Date announced her final retirement in September 2017.

Photo of Naomi Osaka

5. Naomi Osaka (1997 - )

With an HPI of 53.64, Naomi Osaka is the 5th most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 59 different languages.

Naomi Osaka (大坂 なおみ, Ōsaka Naomi, Japanese pronunciation: [o̞ːsäkä näo̞mi], born October 16, 1997) is a Japanese professional tennis player. Osaka has been ranked No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles. She is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, and is the reigning champion at the US Open and the Australian Open. Her seven titles on the WTA Tour also include two at the Premier Mandatory level. At the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka won her first two Grand Slam singles titles in back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments, and is the first player to achieve this feat since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. Born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka has lived and trained in the United States since she was three years old. She came to prominence at the age of sixteen when she defeated former US Open champion Samantha Stosur in her WTA Tour debut at the 2014 Stanford Classic. Two years later, she reached her first WTA final at the 2016 Pan Pacific Open in Japan to enter the top 50 of the WTA rankings. Osaka made her breakthrough into the upper echelon of women's tennis in 2018 when she won her first WTA title at the Indian Wells Open. Later in the year, she defeated 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams in the final of the US Open to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. Since 2018, she has won a Grand Slam singles title in four consecutive years. Osaka is one of the most marketable athletes in the world, having been ranked eighth among all athletes in endorsement income in 2020. She was also the highest-earning female athlete of all time by annual income that year. Osaka has gained significant recognition as an activist, having showcased support for the Black Lives Matter movement in conjunction with her matches. She was named one of the 2020 Sports Illustrated Sportspersons of the Year for her activism largely as part of her US Open championship run, and was also included on Time's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in both 2019 and 2020. On the court, Osaka has an aggressive playing style with a powerful serve that can reach 201 kilometres per hour (125 mph).

Photo of Ai Sugiyama

6. Ai Sugiyama (1975 - )

With an HPI of 51.41, Ai Sugiyama is the 6th most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Ai Sugiyama (杉山愛, Sugiyama Ai, born July 5, 1975) is a Japanese former professional tennis player. She reached the world No. 1 ranking in women's doubles on the WTA Tour and had a career-high singles ranking of world No. 8, achieved on February 9, 2004. In her career, she won six singles and 37 doubles titles, including three Grand Slam titles (one with Frenchwoman Julie Halard-Decugis and two partnering Belgian Kim Clijsters) and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title (partnering Indian Mahesh Bhupathi). Sugiyama held the all-time record, for both male and female players, for her 62 consecutive Grand Slam main draw appearances, until she was surpassed by Roger Federer at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships.

Photo of Shinobu Asagoe

7. Shinobu Asagoe (1976 - )

With an HPI of 46.66, Shinobu Asagoe is the 7th most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 18 different languages.

Shinobu Asagoe (浅越しのぶ, Asagoe Shinobu, born 28 June 1976) is a Japanese former tennis player. She turned professional in 1997, and retired in 2006.

Photo of Akiko Morigami

8. Akiko Morigami (1980 - )

With an HPI of 46.32, Akiko Morigami is the 8th most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  Her biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Akiko Morigami (森上 亜希子, Morigami Akiko, born January 12, 1980) is a Japanese former professional tennis player. She turned professional in 1998. On 15 August 2005, she reached her career-high singles ranking of world No. 41. Morigami won one singles title in her career, defeating top-seeded Marion Bartoli in 2007 in the final of the Prague Open. She reached two other singles finals, both in Cincinnati (falling to Patty Schnyder in 2005, and losing to Anna Chakvetadze in 2007). At the 2006 French Open, she upset then-world No. 3, Nadia Petrova, in the first round. Morigami retired after the 2009 Japan Open in Osaka. In the first round, she defeated qualifier Anastasia Rodionova in three sets, and in the second round, she lost to the eventual champion Samantha Stosur, 1–6, 2–6. This was her last match on the professional tour.

Photo of Yūichi Sugita

9. Yūichi Sugita (1988 - )

With an HPI of 45.81, Yūichi Sugita is the 9th most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 22 different languages.

Yūichi Sugita (杉田 祐一, Sugita Yūichi, born 18 September 1988) is a Japanese tennis player. He has won one ATP singles title, and achieved a career-high singles ranking of world No. 36 on 9 October 2017.

Photo of Takao Suzuki

10. Takao Suzuki (1976 - )

With an HPI of 44.22, Takao Suzuki is the 10th most famous Japanese Tennis Player.  His biography has been translated into 16 different languages.

Takao Suzuki (鈴木 貴男, Suzuki Takao, born 20 September 1976) is a professional tennis player and a former Japanese No. 1.

Pantheon has 20 people classified as tennis players born between 1890 and 1997. Of these 20, 18 (90.00%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living tennis players include Kei Nishikori, Kimiko Date, and Naomi Osaka. The most famous deceased tennis players include Ichiya Kumagae and Seiichiro Kashio.

Living Tennis Players

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Deceased Tennis Players

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