Off the Table: Meet Jun Mizutani, Japan’s Leading Name
Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Jun Mizutani very much at the vanguard
Photo By: Rémy Gros
A second round exit in the Boys’ Singles event at the inaugural World Junior Championships in the Chilean capital city of Santiago in 2003; after overcoming Brazil’s Cazuo Matsumoto, he was beaten by Korea’s Cho Eonrae, the eventual runner up.
However, Japan’s Jun Mizutani had announced his arrival on the global scene; now since October 2007, his name has always appeared in the top 40 on the Men’s World Rankings and since January 2012, a period of five years, always amongst top 12, the very elite.
Team Selection Select the Japanese National Men’s Team some eight years ago and the name of Jun Mizutani was the first to appear; select squad that will be on duty at the forthcoming Perfect 2016 World Team Championships in Suzhou, his name is immediately pencilled at the top of the list.
In the intervening years, his colleagues in the line-up may have changed; not the name of Jun Mizutani, he has remained steadfast.
Stood Out from Crowd Watching Jun Mizutani play as a 14 year old, he stood out from the crowd, he displayed an abundance of natural talent, a fact that was seen in the way he controlled the ball; as the say in the trade “he had good hands”.
Equally, the way he played, a step back from the table, controlled top spin splay from both backhand and forehand, was a delight to watch as to some extent he heralded a new era for Japan.
New Leader The country, that had enjoyed such remarkable success some three or four decades prior to the emergence of Jun Mizutani, had been experiencing lean years as in the European men rose in stature before China re-asserted its grip.
Jun Mizutani heralded a new awakening and as he moved from talented junior to established senior, as he rose in stature, so the fortunes of the Japanese Men’s Team improved; once again the Land of the Rising Sun had a player who could challenge the best.