I’m the Strongest! | STUDY POINT~高校授業編~

I’m the Strongest!


I’m the Strongest!

(Part 1)
“I know a successful player, who’s been trying to achieve a greater challenge
than mine.” Roger Federer, one of the world’s best tennis players, showed great
respect to a Japanese tennis player. His name is Shingo Kunieda. He is one of
the top wheelchair tennis players, and has been ranked first in the world for many
Wheelchair tennis is one of the major wheelchair sports in the world. It has
the status of an official sport in the Paralympics, and has as many tournament
games as regular tennis does. Its rules are almost the same as those of regular
tennis, except for one thing. The players can let the ball bounce up to two times
before returning it. Wheelchair tennis requires players to have the skills to control
the wheelchair quickly and accurately, as well as the techniques of tennis. Players
also need to pay careful attention to their body condition while they are playing.

(Part 2)
Shingo was born in Tokyo in 1984 and brought up in Chiba. After he got spinal
cord cancer at the age of nine, he became a wheelchair user. He began to play
wheelchair tennis when he was eleven. As he was talented in sports, he soon
became good at it.
In his first year at high school, he joined a tour abroad. The breathtaking
moves of the players amazed him. Particularly, Ricky Molier, the number one
player at that time, thrilled Shingo the most. “Cool! What a player!” Molier was
overwhelming other players with his power and technique. “I want to play a match
with him someday.” That thought gave Shingo a clear objective to play wheelchair
In 2004, Shingo won the doubles title at the Athens Paralympics. However,
Shingo was not mentally strong enough to win titles regularly. He was ranked
around tenth in the two years following the Paralympics. The person who changed
this situation was Ann Quinn, a mental trainer. She ordered him to look at himself
in the mirror every morning and shout, “I’m the strongest!” He was doubtful about
doing this, but it became a magic phrase for him. He soon felt the weakness in his
mind disappearing.

(Part 3)
Several months after Shingo started following his trainer’s advice, he won the
singles title at the Japan Open. This was the beginning of a run of victories. In
the fall of the same year, he was finally ranked first in the world. The following
year, in 2007, at the age of 23, he achieved the Grand Slam for the first time in
wheelchair tennis history.
After he was ranked first in the world, Shingo once came close to falling into a
slump. He had been trying hard to be stronger than any other player, but now he
had no one to defeat. He was losing his motivation to play tennis. Then he
realized, “My rival is not another player, but it is myself―what I was yesterday. I
need to get stronger than him.” This thought helped Shingo out of his slump.
Since then he has been playing with the thought, “Today I’ll get stronger than I was
yesterday, and tomorrow, stronger than I am today.” ‘I’m the strongest!’ This is
the phrase he puts on his rackets, and even says in his mind during difficult games.

(Part 4)
After he had won the singles title at the Beijing Paralympics, Shingo declared
that he would turn professional in 2009. He was the first Japanese wheelchair
tennis player to do that. Being a professional in a wheelchair sport involves many
challenges that need to be overcome. For one thing, it is difficult for players to find
sponsors, and many of them lack funds for their tennis. Still, Shingo decided to be
a professional because he believed there was an important meaning in it. He says:
I want to play in a full stadium someday, and inspire disabled children to
dream, “I want to be a wheelchair tennis player.” It is just like the way ablebodied children dream about being a soccer or baseball player.
I also want people to become interested in wheelchair tennis. So I’ll play
tennis not only to win, but also to fascinate people by winning.
In London in 2012, Shingo won the singles title at two consecutive Paralympics.
He plays to win titles, hoping that his actions will encourage children to have
dreams and hopes, just like the ones he had as a boy.

Lesson 1 ぼくは最強だ!
Part 1
「私は 1 人の成功した選手を知っているが,彼は私よりも偉大な挑戦を達成しよう
とし続けている。」世界で最も優れたテニス選手の 1 人であるロジャー・フェデラー
は,1 人の日本人テニス選手に敬意を表しました。彼の名前は国枝慎吾といいます。
彼は車いすテニスのトップ選手の 1 人で,長年,世界第 1 位にランクづけされていま
車いすテニスは世界の主要な車いす競技の 1 つです。パラリンピックでは正式競技
返す前に 2 回までバウンドさせることができるのです。車いすテニスでは,選手はテ

Part 2
慎吾は 1984 年に東京都で生まれ,千葉県で育ちました。9 歳のときに脊髄のがん
にかかったあと,彼は車いす利用者になりました。彼は 11 歳のときに車いすテニス
高校 1 年生のとき,彼は海外遠征に参加しました。息を呑むような選手たちの動き
2004 年,慎吾はアテネ・パラリンピックのダブルスで優勝しました。しかし,慎
続く 2 年間,10 位前後にランクづけされていました。この状況を変えた人物がメン

Part 3
1 位にランクされました。翌 2007 年,23 歳のとき,彼は車いすテニス史上初めてグ
世界第 1 位にランクされた後,慎吾はかつてスランプに陥りそうになったことがあ
ち負かす相手は 1 人もいなかったのです。彼はテニスをするモチベーションを失いか

Part 4
北京パラリンピックのシングルスで優勝したのち,2009 年,慎吾はプロに転向す
技でプロになることには,克服される必要のある多くの試練を伴います。1 つには,
2012 年のロンドンにおいて,慎吾はパラリンピックのシングルスで 2 大会連続優