Tennis Prose



ATP’s Smallest Player Just Made Finals In Little Rock

As Roland Garros rolls into the second week, a much smaller story occurred at the Little Rock ATP Challenger, pun intended. The shortest man in the ATP rankings Yuta Shimizu, who stands at 5-4, was the second best player at Little Rock Challenger, losing in the final to Mitchell Krueger. Krueger, at 6-foot-2, won the final 63 64.

The 24 year old Japanese lefthander may be unknown in the pro ranks right now but he made his mark in ITF juniors, reaching the US Open boys doubles final in 2017 (lost to Hsu Yu-hsiou and Yibing Wu 46 75 9-11).

Shimizu has also made an impact in the ATP. In 2023 Shimizu reached two ATP Challenger finals in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (lost to Benoit Paire 63 06 26) and Chicago (lost to Alex Michelsen 57 26). In doubles, Shimizu has won four Challenger titles, three in 2022 and one this year in Burnie, Australia.

Right now Shimizu is ranked 262 in singles and his best singles ranking was 143 in June 2023.

Shimizu obviously isn’t intimidated by anyone in the ATP. In the last two years the undersized warrior has scored wins over Benjamin Bonzi, Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, Alex Bolt, Marc Polmans, Marius Copil, and Daniel Altmaier. He pushed Mikhail Kukushkin to 46 in the third. He extended Chris Eubanks to 57 in the third last April in Seoul.

At the start of 2023 Shimizu was ranked 398 so he’s on an upward trajectory and on path to possibly become the smallest man in the top 100 since, unofficially, Olivier Rochus, who was 5-foot-6 and reached no. 24 in the world in 2005. The Belgium dynamo won two ATP singles titles and the 2014 French Open doubles title with Xavier Malisse.

Shimizu is playing this week at Tyler Texas ATP Challenger.

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  • Steve · June 4, 2024 at 11:18 am

    Very impressed with is win over Rudy Quan.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 4, 2024 at 11:38 am

    Steve I saw some of that, very impressive, another Nishioka wizard type.

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