The Biofile: Taro Daniel
Before his maiden ATP World Tour title in Istanbul on Sunday, Japan's Taro Daniel hadn't reached a tour-level semi-final, let alone leave a tournament with the biggest trophy.
But at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open, the 25-year-old won five matches in a row to claim the ATP World Tour 250-level tournament. In doing so, Daniel jumped 32 spots in the ATP Rankings to a career-high of No. 82.
Earlier this year at the Miami Open, he spoke with Scoop Malinowski about his career highlights, the traveling life of a tennis player and which quality he admires most in people.
First Tennis Memory: My parents used to be members of a tennis club in Japan. They had clay courts. I started playing there. It’s probably why I play the way I do.
Tennis Inspirations: Federer
Last Book Read: I think I read McEnroe’s autobiography.
First Famous Player You Met Or Encountered: David Ferrer. I used to practise in Valenica. And he used to practise at the same place. So I was able to practise with him and meet him.
Greatest Career Moment: It’s either Olympics or when I beat Djokovic in Indian Wells.
Read & Watch: Daniel Downs Djokovic In Indian Wells
Most Painful Moment: Many weeks [chuckles]. Thirty weeks of the year are very painful [smiles].
Favourite Movies: Woody Allen movies.
Musical Tastes: Led Zeppelin.
Favourite Tournaments: Indian Wells, US Open, it just depends. If you win, it’s a great tournament. If you don’t, it’s not, so it’s hard to choose.
Closest Tennis Friends: JP [John-Patrick] Smith, James McGee, Kei Nishikori, all the Japanese guys.
Funniest Players Encountered: Fognini is pretty funny. He’s a joker for sure.
Favourite Sport Outside Tennis: I don’t follow any sports but I like playing table tennis. I’m pretty good at it.
Three Athletes You Like To Watch & Follow: Michael Jordan but he’s already done. Marshawn Lynch, that’s like the only American football player I like. What else? … Cristiano Ronaldo.
Read More: Daniel's First-Time Winner Spotlight
Funny Tennis Memory: I can laugh about it now. I had a car accident in China when I was riding a taxi on the way to the airport. And I almost missed my flight. That was pretty funny when I think about it now.
Best I Ever Felt On Court: The best I ever played was maybe half of the match against Nadal in the US Open in September when I was a set and a break up.
Favourite Ice Cream Flavour: It’s quality, not the flavour [chuckles].
Why Do You Love Playing Tennis: It’s the only thing I’ve known. I can’t explain why. I guess if I see it from a farther perspective, it’s a very unique career to have. You’re traveling around the world almost every week, playing tournaments and you’re fit. Seemingly living a nice life. So it’s tough, but it’s also rewarding.
People Qualities Most Admired: I like people who are truthful. They’re not afraid to say what they believe in without being disrespectful. That balance is very important I think.
Scoop’s books Facing Sampras, Facing Federer, Facing McEnroe, Facing Nadal, Facing Hewitt and Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew are available at Amazon.