Kurumi Nara is a Japanese professional tennis player that was born on December 30th, 1991. She is a right-handed player with a two-handed backhand, though she focuses on using her quick forehand to finish points. Kurumi Nara has reached the top 50 in her career, peaking at number 32 in the world in 2014. She lives and trains out of Kawanishi, Japan in the Hyogo Prefecture.

Personal Background

Kurumi Nara was born in 1991 in Minoh, Osaka, Japan to her parents, Shungo Nara and Satoko Nara. Her parents started Nurumi Nara in tennis at a very young age, beginning her life as a tennis player at just 3 years old and first began to study tennis under Hiroko Mochizuki as well as Masaru Suishu and quickly became known as a prodigy in the sport. According to Nara, one of her favorite players that she looks up to is the former number 1 ranked Justine Henin from Belgium. She has one brother, Tsubasa Nara.

Early Career

Kurumi Nara at the Citi Open Tournament in Washington DC, Photo: Rena Schild, shutterstock
Kurumi Nara at the Citi Open Tournament in Washington DC, Photo: Rena Schild, shutterstock

At just 10 years old, Nara won second place in the All Japan Primary School Tennis Championship when she was still in elementary school and then in 2003, at just 12 years old, became the winner of the tournament. She made her debut as an junior player in 2006 but lost in the first round of the All Japan Tennis Championship.

Early in her career she found success in doubles on the ITF circuit with fellow Japanese player Misaki Doi. The two made it to the semifinals of the 2007 US Open as well as the semifinals of Wimbeldon in 2008.

In 2007 she won the Osaka Mayor’s Cup, the first Japanese female to do so in 5 years. In 2007 she participated in the All Japan Tennis Championships again, this time making it to the quarterfinals where she lost to Namigata. In 2008 she went to the 3rd round of the US Open girls’ tournament but lost to Mladenovic.

Professional Career

Kurumi Nara returns a ball at the PTT Thailand Open in 2015, Photo: mai Techaphan, shutterstock
Kurumi Nara returns a ball at the PTT Thailand Open in 2015, Photo: mai Techaphan, shutterstock

Nurumi Nara turned professional in the middle of 2009. By 2010 she made her debut in the main draw for a Grand Slam event during the French Open. She defeated Monica Niculescu in the qualifiers in one of the longest qualifier matches in women’s Grand Slam history during the 4 hour, 42 minute match.

2011 was a year that Nara did not find a lot of success, failing to make it to any of the Grand Slam events of the year and she suffered similar results in 2012. 2013 was a turnaround year for Nara, however, and she was able to make it to the 3rd round of a Grand Slam event at the 2013 US Open where she defeated both Sorana Cirstea and Alexandra Cadantu.

2014 was one of her strongest years. She won her first WTA title when she won the Rio Open. Before the year was over, Nara reached a career high ranking of 32. That same year she was also a finalist during the 2014 Citi Open where she lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova. She did not compete at the Japan Women’s Open by the end of the year, however, as she suffered a respiratory illness.

Tennis Playing Style

Kurumi Nara prefers to play on hard court surfaces and takes a very measured, methodical and patient approach to winnings. Instead of winning points outright and with power, she prefers to play a very progressive game. Throughout matches, she will slowly begin to build up her speed and power, working on changing ranges and angles and finishing off points with a quick forehand shot when the opponent can no longer keep up with her pace. Unlike power players such as Serena Williams, Kurumi Nara does not focus on powerful serves and shots, instead placing emphasis on spin and placement. Her aggression comes at finishing points utilizing her forehand.