Humble Hijikata hoping to improve, making no bold calls

Rinky Hijikata knows one swallow doesn't make a summer as the emerging star stays firmly grounded after a breakout year on the ATP Tour.

Hijikata hit a career-high No.70 in October, but insists his foray to the US Open fourth round counts for little going forward.

The 22-year-old has already learned the hard way that a second-week grand-slam charge guarantees nothing, with Hijikata missing direct entry to  the returning Brisbane International starting on December 31.

Hijikata will need to qualify or hope for a wildcard to make the crack field for the season-opening tournament.

And he's OK with that.

"I feel like there's still a lot of areas in my game where I need to improve," Hijikata told AAP.

"I don't feel like I'm anywhere close to where I have to be to compete with these top guys, and that's where you aspire to be.

"So (there's) a big pre-season ahead and I really want to try to put in the work, keep making gains, and hopefully next year I can go in leaps and bounds."

Currently sitting at 71st in the rankings, Hijikata has at least secured his own entry to a grand slam for the first time at next month's Australian Open.

He made the second round this year in Melbourne to vindicate Tennis Australia (TA) awarding him a wildcard, but is eager not to have to rely on charitable offerings from tournament officials any longer.

"My first three grand-slam main draws have all come through wildcards, and obviously I'm very thankful to TA for the opportunities, but it's nice to kind of get there on my own merit," Hijikata said.

"I feel like now I'm proving that I belong there and it's not just a handout. 

"I like to get there on my own terms, so I do feel pretty happy with that and hopefully I can stay up there and keep improving and keep moving forward.

"It's been a really exciting year for me. There was a lot of firsts  and it was a huge learning curve, and I'm just trying to learn as much as possible."

Rinky Hijikata  (left) and Jason Kubler
Rinky Hijikata (left) and Jason Kubler pay lip service after winning the Australian Open doubles.

Hijikata and countryman Jason Kubler will also defend their Australian Open doubles crown in 2024.

"I don't think 'Kubes' and I will go in with too much expectation," he said.

"We didn't get to play with each other too much throughout the rest of the year, and I don't think there'll be too many people out there with high expectations of us.

"But that's how we went into it last year, so we just want to enjoy being able to play at home and  play some doubles together and really just enjoy being  on court together.

"We're good mates, so I'm sure it'll be fun again, and then we'll see how we go." 

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store