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Shibahara to Represent Japan in Olympics Debut

Jun 29, 2021
(Photo: Scott Chandler)

TOKYO – Former UCLA women's tennis standout Ena Shibahara will represent Japan in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the Japan Tennis Association announced Tuesday.

Shibahara, Shuko Aoyama and Ben McLachlan were added to a group that already included Misaki Doi, Kei Nishikori, Yoshihito Nishioka and Naomi Osaka. Shibahara is set to make her first Olympics appearance.

The tennis event, which features men's and women's singles and men's, women's and mixed doubles tournaments, begins Saturday, July 24 and proceeds through Sunday, Aug. 1 at Ariake Tennis Park. Shibahara and Aoyama will represent the host nation in the women's doubles draw.

Shibahara and Aoyama recently captured their seventh Women's Tennis Association (WTA) doubles championship at the Viking International Eastbourne tournament in Great Britain. The title also marks the fourth of 2021 for Shibahara and Aoyama, who make their debut at Wimbledon Thursday. The pair reached the quarterfinal rounds at the 2021 Australian Open and the 2020 French Open, as well as the second round at the 2020 US Open. Shibahara currently sports a career-high WTA doubles ranking of 13.

Shibahara made the most of her two seasons as a Bruin, earning ITA All-America status at the conclusion of the 2017 and 2018 campaigns. Her 67-17 career singles record was rewarded with two berths in the NCAA Championships singles tournament. She made the round of 16 each time. Shibahara also registered a 53-10 doubles mark, advancing to the postseason tournament with partner Jada Hart in 2017. That combination also seized the 2016 US Open girls' doubles championship. Shibahara, who attended Palos Verdes Peninsula HS in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., was a two-time winner of the Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year award and also collected the conference's Newcomer/Freshman of the Year honor. Nationally, she was named the ITA Rookie of the Year.